Engineers Ireland is calling on the Government to increase its allocation of capital spending on transportation - and accelerate the development of major projects like Metro North and the Cork to Limerick motorway.

It has also called for contracts for the National Broadband Plan to be awarded without delay, saying that functioning broadband services are as essential to Irish people as electricity.

In its latest review of Ireland's infrastructure, the body gives the country's facilities a 'C' - or Mediocre - grade across the board - including communications, energy, waste and water facilities - citing years of under-investment by the State.

"The main issues are a lack of investment, a backlog of projects over the last number of years - really since 2010-2011," said Engineers Ireland President Kieran Feighan.

"This year we've concentrated on the transport and communications areas and we've produced a number of two year and five year recommendation in terms of what should be done."

These include relatively small undertakings - such as repurposing roads for more efficient use or better resourcing the National Cyber Security Centre - to major projects like a faster roll-out for Metro North and the National Broadband Plan.

Mr Feighan said that a greater focus on transportation was needed, as many areas of the country were now under pressure - which was limiting the potential for economic growth.

"There are proven economic benefits to the country and you facilitate the growth of the country and employment in those areas," he said. "In Dublin it's quite clear the congestion that's there and that's growing again; we have an economy that's been growing for the last number of years and very, very low levels of capital investment.

"So we've a backlog, and that backlog is growing."

Engineers Ireland also wants a more developed broadband network for the entire country - to ensure that businesses and consumers in any location can get access to the kinds of services they need on a daily basis.

Mr Feighan also points out that technologies will play an ever-increasing role in everyday lives - from smartphones to autonomous cars - and good connectivity is a crucial component in that.

However those in charge of the purse strings would no doubt argue that resources are quite limited at the moment - and there are many other demands on the capital budget, including health and housing.

But Mr Feighan says that this should not be seen as an 'either/or' decision - but instead an acceptance that Ireland's overall capital budget lags way behind what's required, with some form of a plan for remedying that situation.

"The reality is that we've got a backlog across a whole range of sectors and we've got to deal with that if we're going to take the country forward," he said. "We've got to improve our infrastructure in all of those areas. It's not one versus the other; it's a significant lift across all of those areas to support our country and our population."

Engineers Ireland has welcomed the promised increase in capital spending made in last week's Summer Economic Statement, but says that the country still lags behind its peers in this regard.