Brief for Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport

Business priorities and solutions


1. Reduce congestion in our cities


Why?

Ireland’s transport systems are struggling to cope with society’s growing needs. A chronic transport infrastructure deficit has made our cities less ‘liveable’.

Congestion imposes costs on business, increasing average journey times by 43% in Dublin; 34% in Cork; and 27% in Limerick. This represents a hindrance to attracting skilled staff and competing for inward investment.


How?

The Minister should:

  • ensure better integrated public transport within and between our regional cities to encourage modal switch from private cars
  • ensure substantial investment targeted at bottlenecks
  • ensure faster delivery of planned projects such as the National Transport Association’s ‘BusConnects’project, and the Cork Area Strategic Plan for Transport.

2. Improve transport links to our ports and airports


Why? 

As an island on the edge of Europe, Ireland isheavily dependent oninternational trade and tourism for its prosperity. Our major ports and airports are investing in enhanced capacity to meet future demand for passengers and freight. However, the Government needs to ensure that they are well connected to the Irish cities and regions they serve.


How?
  The Minister should:

  • expedite the planning and construction of key transport infrastructure projects, prioritising them in line with regional needs highlighted in Ibec’s submission on the National Planning Framework (NPF).


3. Enhance transport links between our regional cities


Why?

Although road links between Dublin and the regions have greatly improved in recent years, our regional cities remain poorly connected with each other. It is a hindrance to effective regional development.


How?

The Minister should:

  • develop a transport network to support an Atlantic Cities Strategy as an economic counterweight to the Greater Dublin region
  • enhance road and rail connection between regions, through greater ambition for investment than is currently envisaged in the Government’s Capital Plan
  • implement measures to ensure fewer infrastructure projects get delayed in lengthy planning and consents procedures.

4. Mitigate the potential adverse impact of Brexit on movement of people and goods


Why?

There is huge uncertainty over future customs arrangements for our land border with Northern Ireland and our seaports connecting to Britain. It is also unclear whether the EU Common Aviation Area will continue to include the UK. Although it is too early to predict the course of negotiations on transport and trade issues, we can expect a degree of disruption. It is time to start planning for whatever infrastructure and IT systems are needed to keep traffic flowing.

How?
The Minister should:

  • ensure early engagement with business stakeholders (including members of the Irish Ports Association and Ibec’s Transport & Infrastructure Council) on ways to influence the outcome of Brexit negotiations, and options to mitigate traffic disruption.

5. Encourage decarbonisation of transport and improved air quality


Why?

Land transport accounts for a large and growing share of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions. As a consequence, we will struggle to meet our EU-mandated emissions reduction and renewable energy targets for 2020 and beyond. Motor tax and fuel excise incentives to favour diesel over petrol have reduced the quantity of emissions per vehicle kilometre in recent years, but this has been more than offset by growth in traffic volumes over the period. Meanwhile, air quality in urban areas has deteriorated significantly due to elevated levels of other airborne pollutants such as NOx and particulates. This is causing serious health problems for vulnerable citizens living and working in our towns and cities.


How?
The Minister should:  

  • ensure that clean transport energy is affordable, comfortable and reliable. This is a complex problem requiring a combination of new technologies and improved planning practices
  • promote a significant increase in the use of public transport
  • promote the use of natural gas, LPG and electric vehicles alongside blended biodiesel.


6. Allow the private sector a greater role in delivering transport infrastructure


Why?

The Government’s recent consultation on the mid-term review of the Capital Plan 2016-21 is predicated on an extra €2.6 billion of fiscal space becoming available over the remaining period. Ibec considers that this is utterly inadequate to remedy the country’s ‘lost decade’ of under-investment.


How?

The Minister should:

  • use innovative sources of finance to unlock a far greater level of investment, as well as principles for ensuring that the best projects get prioritised.


About Ibec

Ibec is Ireland's largest and most influential business representative. We proudly speak on behalf of 7,500 Irish businesses; home grown, multinational, big and small, spanning every sector of the economy and employing 70% of the private sector workforce in Ireland. Together with our 40+ trade associations, we lobby government and policy makers nationally and internationally to maintain a positive climate for business and drive economic growth. Our policy is shaped by our members through the work of our board, national council, policy committees and trade associations.  We regularly produce market leading industry and business events, positions on issues impacting business, economic research, forecasts and analysis. We also provide a wide range of professional services and management training to members on all aspects of human resource management, occupational health and safety, employee relations and employment law.  With 200 staff in 6 offices around Ireland as well as an office in Brussels and connections in the U.K. and Washington, Ibec communicates the Irish business voice to key stakeholders at home and abroad.

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