“The Dáil has declared a climate and biodiversity emergency on foot of the recent Oireachtas report on Climate Change. The government urgently needs to translate this unanimous political resolve into concrete and meaningful actions.”

The Social Democrats today introduce a Dáil motion calling on the government to revise public spending commitments to deliver meaningful actions on climate change.

The private members’ motion also calls on the government to identify which projects planned under the National Development Plan will now be delayed or cancelled due to cost overruns with the National Broadband Plan and the National Children’s Hospital.

Speaking ahead of tonight’s Dáil debate on the motion, party co-leader Catherine Murphy TD said:

“In the past month, the Dáil has declared a climate and biodiversity emergency on foot of the recent Oireachtas report on Climate Change. The government urgently needs to translate this unanimous political resolve into concrete and meaningful actions to respond effectively and fairly to the accelerating impacts of global warming.

“It’s obvious that this will require a massive step change in how the country plans and spends on large scale infrastructure projects in the coming decades. The National Development Plan commits to €116 billion capital spending up to 2027.

“But the government’s shambolic handling of both the National Broadband Plan contract and the National Children’s Hospital have led to massive cost overruns which have punched a hole in the public finances.

“The Taoiseach has point blank refused to provide the public with any detail about which projects earmarked under the National Development Plan will be delayed or cancelled due to a lack of funding.

“The clock is ticking when it comes to actions needed to tackle climate change. But before new spending priorities can be identified, we need to get a clear and honest picture of the state of the public finances.

“This is why our motion calls on the government to urgently revise both the National Development Plan and the National Planning Framework to properly reflect the real capacity of the state to invest in capital projects.

“The government also needs to establish revised spending priorities so that the country responds effectively and fairly to the accelerating impacts of global warming.”

Text of Dáil Motion

Dáil Éireann notes that:

  • Project Ireland 2040 combines the National Planning Framework (NPF) to 2040 and the 10 year National Development Plan (NDP) 2018-2027
  • Project Ireland 2040 was published in February 2018
  • The NDP sets out the investment priorities that will underpin the successful implementation of Ireland’s infrastructural commitments in the NPF
  • The NDP commits to €116 Billion capital spending in the period 2018 to 2027 with Exchequer funding allocated for public capital investment over the period amounting to €91 billion.
  • A fundamental purpose of the NDP is ensuring that public capital investment is clearly aligned to the delivery of the objectives and priorities detailed in the NPF.
  • Since the publication of Project Ireland 2040 there have been significant cost overruns on two key projects listed in the NDP – the National Broadband Plan and the National Children’s Hospital.
  • These cost overruns have a significant knock-on impact on the funding available to other planned-for projects listed in the plan
  • The 10 year NDP is fundamentally undermined by the significant cost overruns on two major construction projects
  • Many of the projects listed in the plan will not have the required funding available to them for completion as a result of significant cost overruns on other projects
  • Since the publication of Project Ireland 2040 a Climate Emergency has been declared by this House and as a result significant revisions of the plan are required in order to deliver on this declaration.

And calls on the Government to:

  • Immediately identify which projects planned for in the NDP will be delayed or cancelled as a result of lack of funding
  • Recognise that the declaration of a Climate Emergency by the House requires significant revision of the NPF and NDP in order to deliver meaningful action on climate change
  • Urgently revise the NDP and NPF to properly reflect the current spending on listed projects and its impact on the €116 billion overall budget and its allocation across projects.

ENDS