CIF says Next Government must do better to address housing, infrastructure and skills shortages

The next Government must do better to address the housing crisis, the growing skills shortages and infrastructural bottlenecks throughout the country if Ireland is to maintain its position as the fastest growing economy in the EU, according to the Construction Industry Federation (CIF).

To do this, the CIF states that it wants to see a new Cabinet Minister for Infrastructure and Construction.

Launching the CIF Election Manifesto for 2016- 2020, which will be sent to candidates of the impending General Election, Director General of the CIF Tom Parlon emphasised the commitment of the construction industry to partnering with the new Government to meet the challenges facing them in the coming years.

Mr. Parlon stated: “Our vision is for a sustainable construction industry in Ireland that can help meet the demands placed upon the new Government in seven key priorities areas that we have identified.  These are:Economic Growth, Job Creation, Investment in Infrastructure, Supporting FDI, Solving the Housing Crisis, Increasing Office Space, and Career Opportunities.

“With the right policy and legislative framework in place, CIF believe that the industry can grow and create further opportunities for economic development and investment in Ireland.  The construction industry accounts for approximately 7% of GNP.  It is likely to generate a turnover of €15 billion in 2016.  This excludes smaller schemes and self-build/residential extensions, which could account for a further €3 billion.  The industry employs almost 130,000 people, and economic commentators agree that the sector needs to almost double in size to sustain the economic recovery, and provide the homes, offices, hospitals, schools, roads and bridges the country needs in the coming years.

Today we are asking all election candidates to really understand the crucial importance of the construction industry in delivering the economic growth they are all talking about and planning for.  We are calling on the members of the next Government to do better on issues like housing, job creation and investment in infrastructure.  We have a unique challenge in Ireland.  We have the fastest growing economy in Europe, but we have the second lowest level of investment in infrastructure. The scale of the opportunity for this country is huge, and the ambition of the next Government must match that.”

Speaking in respect of the current Governments’ term in office, Mr. Parlon stated: “Our experience in recent years is that there is a lack of joined up thinking in relation to issues surrounding construction.  Issues like housing, planning, procurement, transport, communications, flooding, and ensuring sufficient skills to protect the recovery are scattered across at least 6 different Ministries.  We are calling for aseat in Cabinet for a Minister for Infrastructure and Construction.  We believe that there is a growing need for action from Government to ensure all agencies and departments coordinate to sustain a thriving construction sector.”