Eamon Ryan 'only Transport Minister that doesn't like building roads' - Healy Rae

A report shows the Government has under-spent almost €100 million on transport in the first quarter of this year
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.18 9 Jun 2023

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Eamon Ryan 'only Transport Min...

Eamon Ryan 'only Transport Minister that doesn't like building roads' - Healy Rae

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.18 9 Jun 2023

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One TD has suggested Minister Eamon Ryan would have spent more of his transport budget if cycleways or walkways were being built.

Michael Healy Rae, Independent TD for Kerry, was speaking as the Government under-spent on transport by almost €100 million in the first quarter of this year.

An expenditure report from the Department of Transport shows "profiled programme expenditure" to the end of the first quarter was €219 million - but the actual amount spent was just €122 million.


This is an underspend of €97 million.

Deputy Healy Rae told The Pat Kenny Show this is down to the Minister.

"If you are a person living at the end of a bad road in Co Kerry, or up in any part of the country today in a rural area, and you're travelling over potholes you're thinking to yourself today, 'You're going to say a prayer or two for Eamon Ryan'" he said.

"If anybody else was the Minister for Roads and Transportation, they'd spend the money.

"But the Minister - and I hate being critical of a person when they're not there, but I've said to his face so I'll say it now - he's the only Minister that I know that's in charge of building roads that doesn't like building roads.

"If this was a cycleway or a walkway, he'd want the money to be spent right away.

"But when it's got anything to do with cars or transportation, he thinks that we're all able to go everywhere walking or on a bicycle.

"That's not the real world, that's not the working world, that's not where Ireland is at.

"We need to improve our roads, we need to improve our accessibility," he added.

'It doesn't seem to tally'

Brian Caulfield, professor of transportation in the School of Engineering at TCD, said the underspend on transport doesn't make sense.

"A lot these projects have been on the books for decades," he said.

"We do need to get cranked-up a lot quicker.

"I don't think a post-Christmas lull is an excuse enough.

"An 8% spend in a quarter of the year, it doesn't seem to tally - unless there's a massive spending boost that's about to happen before Christmas.

"It just seems a little bit odd".

m7 reopens Works on the M7 motorway between Naas and Newbridge in Co Kildare in 2018. Picture by: Eamonn Farrell/

Prof Caulfield said this could also be influenced by a lack of construction workers.

"I think where the rubber's meeting the road here is to get people to do the projects," he said.

"To get the qualified staff, to get the engineers, the planners - all of those people," he added.

The Government has said while there has been a degree of underspend in some areas, the department is "confident that expenditure will return to profile as the year progresses."

"It is normal at this point of year for the level of spend to be quite low with a degree of underspend, with expenditure returning to profile by year end," it said.

Spending on regional and local roads was on profile, it said, with some underspend in the area of national roads.

Listen back here:

Main image: Split-screen image shows file photos of Transport Minister Eamon Ryan, and Independent TD for Kerry Michael Healy Rae

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Department Of Transport Eamon Ryan Kerry Michael Healy-rae Transport Budget Transport Minister Underspend

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