€2bn stimulus package could create up to 13,000 jobsTuesday 17 July 2012 22.16
The Government has announced a €2.25bn capital investment programme aimed at providing up to 13,000 jobs and stimulating economic growth.
Details of the programme were announced at Government Buildings by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, and Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin.
The funding for the programme will come from loans from the European Investment Bank, the National Pensions Reserve Fund, domestic bank loans and other potential private investment sources.
Mr Kenny confirmed that the funding is in addition to the €17bn Infrastructure and Capital Investment Framework published last November, which solely involves Exchequer funding.
He said the programme will focus on projects that are ready to proceed in health, education, transport and the justice sectors.
He said they would proceed as funds became available and as public private partnership contracts were agreed.
Mr Gilmore said that this is designed to increase employment, particularly in the construction sector, while also improving Ireland's infrastructure.
"The projects that we are financing will deliver an important boost to communities across the country and are a visible sign of recovery," he said.
Minister Howlin said that previous analysis has indicated that this investment package will generate an additional 13,000 jobs.
The projects will be spread around the country.
The package contains €280m for the education sector to provide 12 new or replacement schools - mainly post-primary - from Clare to Kildare, Cork and Louth.
Dublin Institute of Technology will consolidate its current 39 sites and almost 20,000 students at Grangegorman.
A Luas project, which would stop at the Grangegorman site, is already planned under the existing capital programme.
The health package involves €115m for around 20 primary care centres around the country.
An allocation of €850m is being made for upgrading the national motorway and primary route network.
Projects include the N17/N18 Gort to Tuam motorway, bypassing Clarinbridge, Claregalway and Tuam.
The M11 Gorey to Enniscorthy project will include a bypass of Enniscorthy.
€190m has been allocated for the justice sector. This will include investment in the State pathology laboratory, and some new garda regional divisional headquarters.
Existing courthouse buildings will be refurbished in Cork, Mullingar and Waterford, while new court buildings will be delivered in Drogheda, Letterkenny, Limerick and Wexford.
Of the €2.25bn in funding, the first phase of the €1.4bn public private partnership programme will come from the EIB, NPRF, domestic banks and other potential private investment sources.
A further €850m is expected to be secured over a longer time frame from the sale of State assets and new licencing arrangements for the National Lottery.
The Government believes that by using PPPs it can secure enhanced funding and reduce the immediate cash burden on the State, while permitting projects that would otherwise be impossible to go ahead.
It may also harness private sector expertise and efficiencies.
The Government intends that the programme will provide top class technology educational facilities, health reform, modernise the court and justice systems, and improve travel times on the road network.
Procurement on some of the projects will get under way before the end of the year.
Transport Dept defends rail decision
Meanwhile, the Department of Transport has defended its decision not to seek funding from the European Investment Bank for the stalled Underground DART and Metro North projects.
A spokesman said the Government could not afford the estimated €2bn cost to the Exchequer for both projects as well as the difficulty of raising private finance.
West Dublin Fianna Fáil councillor David McGuinness had pointed out that the EIB is co-funding many such projects across Europe including Paris, Warsaw, Prague and London.