The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and Fine Gael General Election candidate for Dublin Central, Paschal Donohoe, has called on Fianna Fáil to come clean on how it plans to fund commitments made in its manifesto, such as the DART Underground and the construction of the M20. Minister Donohoe warned people to ‘mind the gap’ in Fianna Fáil’s transport policy proposals.
“It’s the same old Fianna Fáil. After five years in opposition Fianna Fáil has learned nothing and is still the high tax, high spend Party, with no clear idea of how to deliver its uncosted promises.
“Among the promises made in the Fianna Fáil manifesto is a commitment to recommence the DART Underground project, the tunnel element of which costs €3 billion. With no costing or any suggestion of how the project would be funded other than to say ‘as soon as add additional resources allow within the fiscal space’, the Party’s plans for DART Underground are clearly going nowhere. This project, as initially proposed by Fianna Fáil, had to go back to the drawing board, following a recommendation by the National transport Authority (NTA), due to the fact that it could be delivered at a reduced cost to the taxpayer, while retaining the required rail connectivity.
“Similarly, Fianna Fáil has failed to cost their plans to develop the M20, which is a project with a price tag of more than €800 million. This is the equivalent of all of the new priority roads listed in the Government’s Capital Plan. The Government has agreed to a mid-term review of the M20, as the economy continues to grow. Fianna Fáil’s inclusion of this project in its manifesto, without stating how it will be funded, is a veiled attempt to hoodwink the electorate in Cork and Limerick for political gain.
“Other populist measures include public transport fare freezes, which Fianna Fáil knows it would have no power to influence, as this is entirely a matter for the NTA.
“Public transport was decimated under Fianna Fáil; passenger numbers dried up due to chronic unemployment and cuts to State subvention had our buses and trains running on an oily rag. This Government turned that ship around, with the result that passenger numbers across all modes of transport are up and Public Service Obligation funding is being increased.
“Fine Gael is the only Party with a plan to secure our recovery through the creation of 200,000 new and better paid jobs. Yesterday it was holes in public servants’ pay proposals. Today it’s public transport. Fianna Fáil clearly has no credible plan whatsoever for Ireland’s future.”