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Lifting the Lid: the Private Financing of Motorway PPPs in Ireland


  • Dónal Palcic

    (Economic and Social Research Institute and Trinity College Dublin)

  • Eoin Reeves

    (Economic and Social Research Institute and Trinity College Dublin)

  • Anne Stafford

    (Economic and Social Research Institute and Trinity College Dublin)


TThis paper addresses the complete absence of detailed information on, and analysis of, the financial aspects of Ireland’s road public–private partnership (PPP) programme to date. We focus on the eight hard toll roads in operation by 2010 and provide a financial analysis of their performance. Although privately financed we find that projects also received considerable public money. Whereas four projects are profitable, the other four have accumulated significant losses. The risk premia paid to profitable projects and the potential renegotiations that may be necessary for loss-making projects raise questions as to whether value for money can be achieved. We conclude with a number of policy recommendations.

Suggested Citation

  • Dónal Palcic & Eoin Reeves & Anne Stafford, 2018. "Lifting the Lid: the Private Financing of Motorway PPPs in Ireland," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 49(2), pages 217-239.
  • Handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:49:y:2018:i:2:p:217-239

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Basilio Acerete & Jean Shaoul & Anne Stafford, 2009. "Taking its toll: The private financing of roads in Spain," Public Money & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(1), pages 19-26, January.
    2. Burke, Richard & Demirag, Istemi, 2015. "Changing perceptions on PPP games: Demand risk in Irish roads," CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ACCOUNTING, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 189-208.
    3. Macário, Rosário & Ribeiro, Joana & Costa, Joana Duarte, 2015. "Understanding pitfalls in the application of PPPs in transport infrastructure in Portugal," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 90-99.
    4. Stephen Glaister, 1999. "Past Abuses and Future Uses of Private Finance and Public Private Partnerships in Transport," Public Money & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 29-36, July.
    5. Tom Willems & Wouter Van Dooren, 2016. "(De)Politicization Dynamics in Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs): Lessons from a comparison between UK and Flemish PPP policy," Public Management Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 199-220, February.
    6. Blanc-Brude, Frederic & Goldsmith, Hugh & Valila, Timo, 2007. "Public-Private Partnerships In Europe: An Update," Economic and Financial Reports 2007/3, European Investment Bank, Economics Department.
    7. Jean Shaoul & Anne Stafford & Pam Stapleton, 2010. "Financial black holes: The disclosure and transparency of privately financed roads in the UK," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 23(2), pages 229-255, February.
    8. Frédéric Blanc-Brude & Hugh Goldsmith & Timo Välilä, 2009. "A Comparison of Construction Contract Prices for Traditionally Procured Roads and Public–Private Partnerships," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 35(1), pages 19-40, September.
    9. Olivier Debande, 2002. "Private Financing of Transport Infrastructure: An Assessment of the UK Experience," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 36(3), pages 355-387, September.
    10. Eoin Reeves, 2011. "The Only Game in Town: Public Private Partnerships in the Irish Water Services Sector," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 42(1), pages 95-111.
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