October 4, 2021
Repeated relaunching of transport projects ‘political theatre’ – Darren O’Rourke TD

Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson Darren O’Rourke TD has said the removal of completion dates for key transport projects from the reviewed National Development Plan is a concerning development and risks some infrastructure projects never being delivered.

Teachta O’Rourke said:

“Some of the projects included in this document have been launched repeatedly over two decades but remain undelivered, so many will be forgiven for thinking today is nothing more than political theatre.

“Indeed, instead of moving forward on some vital projects, we now seem to be going in reverse.

“The 2027 completion dates for both the Metrolink and DART+ have been removed from the NDP, in favour of no date at all.

“This is a very concerning development, as without any completion date to work towards, these major projects could continue to be pushed and delayed into oblivion.

“While the Western Rail Corridor and Navan Rail Line are mentioned in passing, no firm commitment is provided for these important projects.

“No dates, budgets or detail are included, preferring instead to kick the can down the road to ongoing reviews.

“Minister Ryan’s comments this morning where he said he can’t guarantee every road project included in the plan will go ahead, raises serious questions about the plan’s credibility.

“Does this mean this NDP is just a booklet with a long list of projects to keep back-benchers happy, rather than a serious plan to address the deficits in our infrastructure?

“The plan is very light on detail when it comes to the aviation sector, an industry employing over 140,000 workers and one that is vital to our economy and society as an island nation.

“We need a updated National Aviation Policy, as the current one is six years old, and I had hoped to see a roadmap for investing in lower carbon technologies for the sector, such as hydrogen, which is now happening in other countries. Unfortunately, no such vision is included.

“No concrete investment for developing our ports for the construction and maintenance of offshore wind farms is outlined, again kicking this to a review of the National Ports Policy.

“This is a real missed opportunity and risks the majority of new offshore wind farms being constructed abroad, bypassing suppliers and workers on the island.

“This NDP was an opportunity to outline a vision and commitment to address infrastructural deficits. Instead, it appears incoherent and contradictory on a number of fronts, much like this Government itself.”

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