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Minister McCreevy should go over NDP fiasco - Ó Caoláin

30 June, 2004

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Finance spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has stated that the Minister for Finance should resign in light of the "incredible mismanagement of the National Development Plan" revealed by the Comptroller and Auditor General's Report on the massive over-spend on national roads.

Deputy Ó Caolain said:

"On the day the Minister for Finance Charlie McCreevy expressed his determination to stay in office and persist with his policies this Government's management of the National Development Plan, for which the Finance Minister is responsible, has been exposed as a fiasco. The Comptroller and Auditor General has revealed that the cost of the roads programme under the National Development Plan has spiralled from a projected investment of €5.6 billion in 1999 to an estimated cost of €16.4 billion now, with projects way behind schedule. It was also revealed that this massive rip-off of the taxpayer has been facilitated by a systematic failure on the part of the National Roads Authority to properly cost and monitor projects.

"The C&AG has highlighted that while the NDP is the source of funding for the roads programme, there is no clear specification of the set of projects which it is planned to fund from that national programme. This is a clear indictment of the Government.

"The delivery of the National Development Plan is described by the government as the 'blueprint for Ireland's continuing economic progress' and the Minister for Finance has overall responsibility for its delivery. This is the Minister who preaches prudent economic management and who today expressed his determination to continue in office. Yet he has presided over a situation where the taxpayer is being systematically ripped off by consultants, suppliers and contractors for massive road projects. The Minister's position is untenable and he should go." ENDS

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