Wednesday 25 April 2018

Government hopes for 13,000 jobs through €2.25bn stimulus plan

Lyndsey Telford

THE Government hopes to create 13,000 jobs through a new stimulus plan announced today.

The €2.25bn investment will go towards "shovel ready" projects in education, transport and health, with construction work likely to start as early as the end of this year.

The bulk of the jobs created will be in the construction sector, which was among the hardest hit during the recession.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the public infrastructure investment was part of the Government's commitment to solving the unemployment crisis.

The €2.25bn package will be made up of €1.4bn of funds from the European Investment Bank (EIB), National Pension Reserve Fund and domestic banks.

A further €850m will come from the sale of state assets and money secured in a new licensing arrangement for the National Lottery.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin would not give a breakdown of how much specifically would come from each source, saying it would depend on the individual projects.

He also refused to speculate on exactly how much the Government expects to raise in the sale of state assets next year, which will go towards the infrastructure plans.

"I can't give you an exact figure on that but we are absolutely confident that we will be able to go beyond the projects we have identified here," said Mr Howlin.

The minister added that the Government has "a very large envelope that we can draw down" from the EIB.

The Government will press ahead with long-awaited plans to build a new Dublin Institute of Technology campus in Grangegorman with funds from the stimulus package.

Six new schools will also be built in Cork, Kildare, Louth and Clare, while new roads are to be constructed in Galway, Kilkenny and Wexford.

But Mr Howlin rejected suggestions that the latter - his own constituency - was unfairly chosen to benefit from the boost, insisting projects have been selected based purely on the fact there are existing plans and the work is ready to begin.

"These are things that are ready to run, but that have been held for a lack of money," said Mr Howlin.

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