Who will benefit from the A5 windfall?

Interesting to note Peter Robinson’s expression of regret over Brendan Howlin’s deferral of its end of the funding for the A5 dual carriageway project… It’s fairly clear he does not share Tom Elliott’s conviction that it was a mere white elephant…

Nevertheless he took care to suggest that the NI money must go into construction, mostly likely into other forms of capital spend… In Northern Ireland, where the car is king, you might bet that it will go into one or more dozen’s of projects shelved for what would have been a 60% spend of the current roads budget on the A5…

But some of the works on the Derry rail link were also suspended… With Derry City Council stumping up some of the cash, it may be that some of that redirected cash will go into completely that work..

In the meantime, as Sinn Fein’s Donegal based Westminster MP Pat Doherty’s off for a meeting to protest a decision by the southen state to spend its cash on more pressing domestic needs, it will be interesting to see how much of the benefits of that £400k come back to the west…

  • FuturePhysicist

    Should the East get any?

    The big losers here will be Omagh and the Republic, the road could’ve made a huge difference. Surely the 400k must be something that is suitably cross-border if not the A5, if the Republic is donating the money?

  • Reader

    FuturePhysicist: Surely the 400k must be something that is suitably cross-border if not the A5, if the Republic is donating the money?
    Ah, a true physicist, out by a factor of 1000, or “only three in the log”.
    And the £400 million is not coming from the Republic after all – so the Northern windfall is about £200m, according to the other thread. The problem is, if the money is all spent in the west, what Stormont pocket does the Nordie A5 funding eventually come from if the Republic finally stumps up? You can’t spend the same money twice.

  • Cynic2

    “You can’t spend the same money twice.”

    You shouldn’t spend it at all unless you need to. The best investment for this would be to pay the redundancy payoffs for hundreds of civil servants. The cash would still end up in the local economy and we would see an immediate ROI

  • IJP

    Corporation tax straightaway, anyone?

    Given the apparent reliance of the construction sector on roads funding, no doubt most of it should be allocated there. Nevertheless, A2 Greenisland and A6 Castledawson still gives you decent change from 200m.

    There is no doubt that a proper rail connection in Derry and a modern rail transit system for Belfast’s growing Titanic Quarter would be value for money.

    For all that, I’m not sure I could justify spending 100% of it on transport, given Health and Social Care are now so obviously short.

  • FuturePhysicist

    > ROI – Return of Investment … it means other things here too.

    “Ah, a true physicist, out by a factor of 1000, or “only three in the log”. And the £400 million is not coming from the Republic after all – so the Northern windfall is about £200m, according to the other thread. The problem is, if the money is all spent in the west, what Stormont pocket does the Nordie A5 funding eventually come from if the Republic finally stumps up? You can’t spend the same money twice”

    Unsure of the actual figures of what’s funding what, I did see 400k show up in another thread, it may be what has been reserved currently for the project’s budget for this year or so.

    As Cynic2 immediately implied with a comment about money velocity, the fact we have multipliers shows that quite often we do spend the same money over and over again, so long as the same money is being used on a fixed currency, well quasi-fixed we’re in a period of quantitative easing across Europe, not just in Britain and Ireland.

    Of course a lot of this government money is owed to other people, both in liabilities to public servants and to recapitalising of banks.

  • Mick Fealty

    I wouldn’t think so Ian. Hard to persuade voters (and private sector contractors) to take a few birds in the bush (Corpo Tax) for one in the hand at a moment when the world economy is having an extended bout of hebejebies?

  • DT123

    What about sharing it out equally amongst the rate payers of NI?

  • Los Lobos

    Given that the deal was born at St Andrews and its midwifes were Blair, Ahern, Paisley and McGuinness, natural justice has come to pass. That failure of all of these politicos in recent times is testimony to their inability to conduct anything with the least amount of honesty. Everyone seems to forget that there was a very expensive Public Inquiry into the A5 project. That inquiry has not reported yet. Why are most commentators so sure that the report would find in favour of the proposal? Why were the four horsemen at St Andrews so certaint that they could pluck this proposal out of thin air and land it into the planning system of Northern Ireland without any consultation? The whole sordid deal was the “deal cincher” that got the DUP and SF to hop into bed with each other way back when, it enabled SF to support policing and decommission as well as allowing the DUP to drop the never, never, never rethoric! Both SF and the DUP stand to lose big time as they will not now be able to point to delivering for their developer friends. This will be particularly felt by Sinn Fein in West Tyrone as it looks like the Education campus at Lisanelly Barricks will not now go ahead, nor will the out of town shopping centre which would have required a huge road to take shoppers from all over the County. Everything rested on the A5 for SF, now it has all quite literally blown up in their faces. Poor we Barry what a chump he now looks.

  • Maybe the trackwork spend on Dublin-Belfast can now be un-deferred?
    http://www.u.tv/news/Belfast-to-Dublin-railway-work-shelved/dd23553b-35e4-4c93-8a7f-96024a9c0cb5

  • Mick Fealty

    Maybe on the northern side, but I don’t recall hearing that in Howlin’s spending priorities Mark…

  • FuturePhysicist

    You have to give IJP some credit for coming up with a methodology, remember the big five parties did actually back corporation tax devolution perhaps the few things you’d get Agnew and Allister in united opposition against.

    There is an issue surrounding stimulus, the right can’t cut taxes, the left can’t spend money and the guys in the centre can’t do anything but try to avoid giving the wrong impression that they couldn’t do anything before.

    The uncertainty in the global markets presents equal opportunities and problem, businesses are shutting down, People are becoming unemployed and claiming doles, the best educated graduates are joining the same dole queues or leaving further a field. The economic infrastructure of this region is falling apart, the human resource management in this region is struggling.

    Even subsistence measures that should be coming as part of a recession are struggling.

    In terms of what we produce in labour, raw materials, products and industry, do we even demand what we supply?

    Could more be done about the bad things we supply like waste, pollution and demand better recycling attitudes, even just avoiding littering would save the local councils here a fortune.

    Logistically, the UK government is cutting its scientific infrastructure in the hopes that the private sector picks up the pieces, added to the fact that the EU are going to ban regional subsidises that many industries here have to function. Once that happens places like Seagate, Bombardier, Nortel and Norbrook will close up shop here.

    Nothing is attracting investment here or encouraging enterprise here. Ultimately the private sector is the first order problem, but lower tax revenues from income tax, costs of welfare, reduced infrastructure ensure that the public sector takes the second hit.

    Mick, do you honestly think the regional economy is safe without a lower corporation tax or other stimulus mechanism.

  • Cynic2

    “What about sharing it out equally amongst the rate payers of NI?”

    Or giving it back to the English who paid it?

  • Cynic2

    The assumption on inward investment is that there is a shortage of capital here to fund development.

    In the past (pre crisis) the problem was a shortage of ideas, not cash. That’s why all the loose money went into house.

    Inward investors want cheap Labour and market access. They will buy up assets cheap too then strip them and take the intellectual components home. That’s how the world works.

    We need to grow indigenous businesses but that’s a lot harder. It much easier to show the Minister another call centre.

  • Barry the Blender

    Everything rested on the A5 for SF, now it has all quite literally blown up in their faces

    I think that’s a little OTT. The great beauty of the Northern Ireland political system is that tens of thousands of people will come out and vote for you, no matter how colossal your f**kups have been, provided you’re a member of the DUP or Sinn Fein that is.

    It is that key pinnacle upon which politics here is founded, and ever let a daft idea like a dual carriageway between 2 smallish county Tyrone towns ever get unto the drawing board in the 1st place.

  • Los Lobos

    The full ramifications of this will be far reaching for sf and the dup. In terms of negoition skills it shows that they were really only hick bumpkins invited into 10 dowing street to be made fools of. Adams has got off side and Robbo will bluff it out for another while, however, the confidence is gone. No certainty about anythng anymore, no uniting ireland by tar instead of war by 2016! No 2012 road to remember those who fell at the Somme either. Both sets of greedy clowns at the “ganch factory” on the hill are left looking at each other with no one to blame only themselves, poetic justice.

  • Cynic2

    “a daft idea like a dual carriageway between 2 smallish county Tyrone towns ever get unto the drawing board in the 1st place.”

    Because it was easier than talking about the real issues?

  • There are criteria which have been developed to decide when a dual carriageway or motorway is needed. Generally depends on the amount of traffic anticipated based on present usage. I have no idea if they were applied in this case. It would be a pity if they weren’t; public money should not be spent lightly.

  • IJP

    Mick

    First line was tongue-in-cheek of course, but I await the Executive’s innovative proposals to create jobs in a public sector recession with interest, given we’re already 30,000 jobs worse off than we were when they made the economy their “number one priority”.

    Joe

    Essentially no, the A5 did not “qualify” for upgrade under NI’s framework (others, notably the A6 had priority).

    The A5 was suddenly rammed up the list when the Republic offered to fund half of it, on it’s rather than NI’s terms. I was always sceptical, even during the boom, that it’d ever really happen.

  • FuturePhysicist

    The assumption on inward investment is that there is a shortage of capital here to fund development.

    In the past (pre crisis) the problem was a shortage of ideas, not cash. That’s why all the loose money went into houses.

    Inward investors want cheap Labour and market access. They will buy up assets cheap too then strip them and take the intellectual components home. That’s how the world works.

    We need to grow indigenous businesses but that’s a lot harder. It much easier to show the Minister another call centre

    The call centres are probably subsidised too, at least companies could buy assets to strip rather than just be given them the way we do with subsidies. One of the ways that the Northern Irish economy is currently getting money is basically by re-mortgaging a lot of the public property it has.

    In terms of cheap labour, across most sectors the labour market here generally work longer hours for less pay than the rest of the Britain and Ireland zone. The infrastructure here from universities to hospitals to schools and some aspects of the welfare state all are positive factors to encouraging inward investment here too, as is worker productivity and morale are fairly reasonable (in comparison to some areas with cheaper labour) all play a part.

    Manufacturing generally is a sector that does not necessarily need to tap internal markets but does have to spend in the market be it on labour, raw materials or growth.
    The one area the North does look in envy at its Southern Neighbours is the export capacity that has emerged from manufacturing, and indeed the work and taxes provided to the Exchequer down there.

    It has to be remembered that any North American company here pays corporation tax twice, the non-dom taxes imposed by the US or Canadian government and the regional taxes here. They pay other taxes such as environmental taxes, rates etc.

    Tourism – Retail, Entertainment and Hospitality will perhaps be the sectors that suffers, in order for it to cope we need to attract tourism and encourage expanding markets.

    Food and Renewable Energy – also offer subsistence and export market potential, but only if they are managed very well.

    Scientific Research & Knowledge Commerce – Science is not IT, I would love to hammer that home through the heads of so many politicians. There is a potential in science research that has tremendous economic power, Quantum Mechanics lead to the invention of most of the 20th century inventions was being discovered during what would be termed the Great Depression, some in periods of immense hyperinflation in Germany.

    The problem is that science is considered too much of a neesh here, or frowned on either negatively or over-zealously by some who don’t know how to tap into its potential. Very few SME would take up the tax credits available for research and design, very few would risk on R&D which has the potential to put you in that unique place in the global market place. We have many science and engineering graduates on the dole while companies complain about Skills Shortages and its because they wont invest in training, they won’t adapt or negotiate on adaptable skills, they won’t investigate the potential of these skills or offer try-out part term work.

    SME’s can offer many young scientists and engineers vital work experience, they could perhaps offer saltwater scientists and engineers a chance now they’re being made redundant by larger enterprises, but they either lack the business skills to utilise science and engineering, or the scientific and engineering skills to utilise their business.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Ultimately, I believe more savings can be made in the physical sciences and in electrical, electronic, mechanical and chemical engineering than in just software engineering, computing and Information Technology.

    Even competing against the emerging nations in these fields.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ian,

    Indeed. I suspect no amount of representation is now going to bring it back. Even Labour flagged it up on the run in to the election as a likely item for cutting. I doubt we’ll see it’s likes again, in the near future.

    It’s a shame for Donegal and the west of NI generally. But other such cross border projects will likely have to be smaller, and smarter and less vulnerable to getting shunted into ‘the futuring zone’.

  • Zig70

    The A5 will happen, it just makes sense for Irelands economy. Why don’t those muppets queuing on the shore road get the train? Often wonder that as I cycle past. Trains to Derry? There is no economical dtrong arguement for trains, have to laugh at the greens supporting several hundred tons of diesel engine to carry 30 people.

  • Barry the Blender

    There are criteria which have been developed to decide when a dual carriageway or motorway is needed. Generally depends on the amount of traffic anticipated based on present usage. I have no idea if they were applied in this case. It would be a pity if they weren’t; public money should not be spent lightly.

    For what it’s worth a friend of mine who is a road fanatic says that most of it was not (maybe lumping Omagh onto the M1 is, the Omagh to Strabane end barely needs an A road at all). I know that what my mate says to me down the pub isn’t exactly a peer reviewed scientific journal, but he has been a member of The Society for All British and Irish Road Enthusiasts since the age of 13 and knows our fellow commenter IJP from their message boards.

  • IJP

    Mick

    That’s my view and, again, why can we not just be honest about it? To be frank I would rate the A26 Lisburn-Antrim and A3 Armagh-Richhill, neither of which is even being considered for any upgrade, higher than the A5 (the former, combined with planned A6 upgrades, would even cover the Derry-Dublin route).

    Barry

    Indeed. 18,000 per day is generally thought of as the limit required to consider dualling, and parts of the A5 are about half that! (Mind, the section at Omagh is over 21,000, I gather.)

    That said, there is a case for building roads deliberately to attract traffic to a certain route (ie economic corridor). Even as a roads nut, however, I couldn’t see how the A5 would have been priority.

  • galloglaigh

    Or giving it back to the English who paid it?

    And there was me thinking we were one big united kingdom?

    Only when it suits eah!

  • jthree

    Kevin Magee reported that the A2 Greenisland will get some of it and most of the rest will go into the maintenance budgets for roads, schools and hospitals.

  • Drumlins Rock

    just looked up google maps, Derry Dublin via A5 & N2 is 3hrs 12 min, via Belfast on A6 & M1 is currently 3hrs 25min, the A6 and Yorkgate upgrades could be be just a benificial to the Northwest as the A5.
    There are possible some parts of the A5 that could go ahead, like the by-passes.

  • dwatch

    A5 upgrade ‘back on track’ – DFM
    U.TV – ‎25 minutes ago‎
    Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has told UTV the upgrade of the A5 road is “back on track”, after he and First Minister Peter Robinson held talks with Taoiseach Enda Kenny on Friday.

    http://www.u.tv/News/A5-upgrade-back-on-track-DFM/4a4a832f-53c3-4b1e-b498-5e8e803f4a0e

  • Cynic2

    A5 ‘back on track’ in Shinner speak means postponed for at least 3 years

    The problem is its out to tender so they will have to redraw the time schedules for bidders. That will take say 6 months if they don’t have ti rerun the process in which case it will take 12 months at least. That takes it beyond the Time Horizon of this mandate and its budget.

  • Cynic2

    Drumlins

    Now there you go again injecting reality into pork barrel politics. You do need to learn

  • Drumlins Rock

    Cynic, I’m a map geek too, any excuse to google map 🙂

  • IJP

    Drumlins

    And via A26 is 3 hr 28, hence my proposal for an urgent upgrade there.

    Even a Banbridge-Antrim expressway would cost a lot less than the A5, with significant benefit to Derry, provided the A6 upgrades went ahead as planned. Wouldn’t stake the house on that proviso, mind…!

  • Drumlins Rock

    IJP, what about via the A29? can fund the extremrly needed by passes to Cookstown Dungannon & Armagh, and together with the A6 would get it down to 3 hrs. kill several birds with one stone

  • dwatch

    United Ireland dream shunted onto lay-by as A5 plan parked
    Dublin’s shelving of the A5 road project is a kick in the teeth for northern nationalists. But that’s the reality of partition, says Henry McDonald

    Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/news-analysis/united-ireland-dream-shunted-onto-layby-as-a5-plan-parked-16075990.html#ixzz1dVp4Mq1M