Ireland needs a dedicated unit inside the Department of Taoiseach to plan capital development projects. Engineers Ireland Director General Caroline Spillane made the call, saying the new body would be similar to Infrastructure UK, a unit based in the treasury, which co-ordinates across all British government departments.
The Director General, quoted in The Irish Times, says Ireland will lose its competitive edge if we don’t plan long-term infrastructural goals.
Failure to plan key projects could prove detrimental to the economic outlook, she said. The recent announcement of a €27bn capital programme for the next five years was insufficient to meet the needs of an expanding economy.
“With macroeconomic forecasts for Ireland being revised upwards, the country’s capital infrastructure will not be enough to meet demand in the coming years. We are investing too little, the timeframe for delivery is too long, and we are not thinking strategically enough about the long-term needs of the country,” said Ms Spillane.
“There has been quite an exodus of engineers in recent years and, while recent CSO figures show an increase in the numbers studying the subject, it is not at the level it should be,” she said.
“Currently about 20 per cent of engineering students are female and when we look at the number of engineers in the workforce, only about 10 per cent of them are women. This means we are missing out on a significant talent pool at the moment,” she said.