05.05.07

Alarm as BMW Region spend lags behind

Concerned with serious underspend in the BMW Region, the Council for the West is to meet

with TDs, Senators  and MEPs from the West in Dublin on Wednesday, May 18th.
The Dublin delegation will be led by Sean Hannick, Chairman Council for the West, and will press

the case for  ensuring that money allocated to the BMW Region under the National Development

Plan is not lost or will not be reallocated to other projects in other regions.

It is estimated that funding for the BMW Region could have fallen approximately 2 billion

euro behind schedule with a consequent widening gap in infrastructure between East and West.
Four years has elapsed in the current National Development Plan, and in the meantime 22.8 billion

has been spent in the South/East Region and 8.3 billion in the BMW area. Even more revealing, the South/East Region spend represents 92% of what was forecast in the NDP, but the BMW Region has

only achieved 75% of the projected spend.

The Minister for Finance, Brian Cowan has accepted that the BMW area has lagged behind in spending

on roads and transport, mainly because of prioritised  major infrastructure  projects in the South/East region, notably in the Greater Dublin area, and especially in the areas of roads and
public transport.

However, Sean Hannick, Chairman Council for the West, said it was a cause for alarm that infrastructural investment the BMW Region had slipped behind schedule and the regional gap which the National Development Plan had set out to close was in fact widening and needed to be urgently checked.

"We are meeting our Western public representatives in
Dublin to impress on them the position and to ask them to lead the way in ensuring that the BMW region gets what it was promised under the Plan and is not fobbed off again.  We cannot tolerate being told in a few years time that money intended for this region was not spent and had to be transferred to the South/East Region. That would be a double kick in the face," he said.

The delegation from the Council for the West will press the urgent need for infrastructural investment. "We'd like the Government to know that our needs are every bit as pressing as those of the Dublin area, and that is why we are calling on our elected representatives to unite and see this National Development Plan commitment honoured in full- and on time," said Mr Hannick.