The project material, recently published by Minister Paschal Donohoe TD, makes it possible for the public to track how infrastructure projects are progressing . The material also allows taxpayers to ascertain if they are getting real value for money from public investment.
The material falls into three parts:-
1. Investment Projects and Programmes Tracker : The updated tracker lists a range of projects and programmes to be delivered by Departments over the period of the National Development Plan, where the costs are greater than €20 million, per project;
2. MyProjectIreland interactive map : The interactive mapping tool provides details on over 500 projects across Ireland, ranging from small-scale investments to the largest projects include in the capital programme, and
3. Prospects – Ireland’s Pipeline of Major Infrastructure Projects : This report provides further visibility on the sequencing of a sample of Ireland’s priority infrastructure projects over the coming years. It contains high level information on 50 of the largest projects included in ‘Project Ireland 2040’ and signposts to other sources for more detailed information…
Progress of Major Projects
Following the publication of the Public Spending Code last December, all public investment projects are required to go through six planning stages – see my recent blog
• Strategic Assessment;
• Preliminary Business Case;
• Final Business Case;
• Review, and
• Ex-Post evaluation
The material published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform shows the stage of progress of each of the major projects. Table 1 lists the results for the top 12 projects. Each of these projects has an estimated cost of €500 million (or over).
Table 1: Top Twelve Public Infrastructure Projects
Name of Project Stage of Project Lifecycle Construction Cost range
1 Metrolink Preliminary Business Case 2027 €1 billion+
2 New Children’s Hospital Implementation/Construction 2023 €1 billion+
3 Water Supply Project (Eastern/ Midlands) Final Business Case 2027/28 €1 billion+
4 Celtic Interconnector Project Final Business Case TBC TBC* €500m- €1bn
5 N20 Cork to Limerick Preliminary Business Case TBC* €500m- €1bn
6 Greater Dublin Drainage Preliminary Business Case 2025 €500m- €1bn
7 Galway City Ring Road Final Business Case 2025 €500m- €1bn
8 Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant Implementation/Construction 2025 €500m- €1bn
9 N22 Ballyvourney to Macroom Implementation/Construction 2023 €250m- €500m
10 Dublin Airport North Runway Implementation/Construction 2021 €250m- €500m
11 N21/N69 Limerick to Adare to Foynes Final Business Case 2025 €250m- €500m
12 Cork City Wastewater Network Strategic Assessment TBC* €250m- €500m
* TBC = ‘to be confirmed’
The table shows that four major projects are at the implementation stage; four at the final business case stage; three at the preliminary business case stage and one at the strategic assessment stage.
Progress of Projects costing over €20million
The Investment Projects and Programmes Tracker focuses on projects with estimated costs in excess of €20million (per project). It was first published in 2017. The latest update provides data on the progress of nearly 200 investments that make up ‘Project Ireland 2040’.
• 59 projects are at construction stage – including the Oweninny Wind Farm Project, Mayo; the Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Project; the N56 Dungloe to Glenties Road, Donegal; and the National Children’s Hospital.
• 22 projects are set to commence construction this year, including Beaumont Hospital Radiation Oncology Unit; the Nangor Road, Clondalkin Housing Project; the Cork City Water Supply Scheme Upgrade; and the Coonagh to Knockalisheen Road, Limerick.
• 21 projects are set to complete construction in 2020, including the Clonakilty Flood Relief Scheme and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda.
• 10 projects were completed in 2019, including M11 Gorey to Enniscorthy Motorway; National Indoor Arena Phase 2; and Skibbereen Flood Relief Scheme. Twenty three projects over €20m commenced in 2019, including N22 Ballyvourney to Macroom; Galway Emergency Department and Ward Block; and Dominick Street (East Side) Regeneration Development, Dublin.
Table 2 charts the number of projects at different stages of project lifecycle
Do we need all this information?
Some may argue that there is too much information being provided. Not according to Minister Pascal Donohoe. At the recent launch of the material he was clear about the importance of providing – “…citizens with in-depth information on the progress underway in their town, city, county, province or region”. Moreover, he pointed out the importance of providing – “…both domestic and international construction firms the strong evidence base they need to plan effectively for the substantial opportunities available to them for investment”.
It is only right that the public should be able to observe the projects that are underway in their local areas. It is also right that taxpayers should be able to ascertain if they are getting real value for money from public investment.
Tom Ferris is a Consultant Economist specialising in Better Regulation. He lectures on a number of PAI courses and blogs regularly for PAI. He was formerly the Senior Economist at the Department of Transport.