Fine Gael has unveiled an €11 billion economic stimulus plan which it believes can generate 100,000 new jobs over the next four years.
The plan envisages the creation of a new industrial development holding company, called NewERA - the New Economy and Recovery Authority - to undertake large scale investments in sustainable energy generation, telecoms and broadband networks and water distribution.
Fine Gael claims its strategy could make Ireland a net energy exporter by 2010 and make the country a hi-tech base for Irish and overseas investors.
Fine Gael says the creation of the NewERA holding company would allow Ireland to borrow money from the European Investment Bank and issue bonds without affecting calculations of the national debt, because the money raised would be treated as financial investments seeking a commercial return.
Under the plan, NewERA would take over the ownership of existing semi-state companies including the ESB, Eirgrid, An Post, Bord Gais, Bord na Mona and Coillte It would also establish new commercial semi-states to deliver broadband, renewable energy and an expanded drinking water programme.
Fine Gael also says that by stimulating new investment and job creation in the economy, and by moving some NDP investments out of the exchequer and into 'NewERA' commercial state bodies,the Government's borrowing requirement will be cut by just over €4 billion by 2013.