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Millions of taxpayers' money wasted - Crowe

6 October, 2006

Speaking after it emerged that there will be a cost overrun of at least €13 million on the initial budget of just under €30 million for Dublin's integrated ticketing system for public transport; Sinn Féin Transport Spokesperson Seán Crowe TD said he was dismayed at yet another project that has been allowed to go over budget by this incompetent government.

The Dublin South West TD said that "while travelling in Europe and further afield one can enjoy transport systems that provide quick, clean, affordable, efficient and integrated transport for public commuters. Paris is a very accessible city, despite having a population of over 2 million in the centre. Public transport there is both cost-efficient and cost-effective. Budapest also boasts an impressive public transport system. In populated areas there are stops or stations within 400 metres of any one point. Public commuters simply have to purchase a single ticket which is useful for complex journeys and accepted on buses, trolley buses, trams and the metro underground.

"This government's attempt to introduce integrated ticketing is undoubtedly a positive idea but has obviously run into trouble. The current budget is €42.7 million but with the history of cost overruns in the lifetime of this government I would expect that figure to rise. It seems that the Fianna Fáil and PD partnership, awash with money, seem unperturbed by literally throwing the taxpayers money away. Coincidentally the current Minister for Transport Martin Cullen presided over the waste of €52 million on the purchase of useless electronic voting machines, which cost €696,000 per year to store. They have also wasted a whopping €160 million on the PPARS computer system, a scandal in itself. The Luas project was some €470 million over budget while the Dublin Port Tunnel cost €350 million more than expected.

"This whole litany of incompetent spending and lack of value-for money is an indictment of this government who have literally thrown millions of taxpayers' money away. While our public transport system, if you can call it a system, is on its knees, our government cannot even oversee the smooth implementation of integrated ticketing. It seems that this government know the cost of everything but the value of nothing. While the government are seemingly quite content to waste taxpayers' money on several projects, they refused to invest in our profitable former national airline Aer Lingus and actually privatised it leaving it to the mercy of ruthless capitalist interests."


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