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Saturday 18 November 2017

3,500 jobs earmarked for building sector

Paul Melia and  Treacy Hogan

More than 3,500 construction jobs will be created under the Jobs Initiative, the Government has claimed.

However, many will not come on stream until the autumn at the earliest.

A total of €124m will be spent this year repairing schools, upgrading roads and insulating homes to make them more energy-efficient, but it could be months before many of the promised jobs are created.

This is because any project costing more than €50,000 will have to be put out to tender.

Local authorities will have to seek bids from private companies, some based in Northern Ireland and the UK, before evaluating the proposals and choosing the best candidate.

It will be at least three months before the process is completed and work can begin.

The bulk of the capital spend is on roads. Some €60m has been allocated to repair 650km of local and regional roads damaged during the last two harsh winters.

Cork County Council gets the biggest allocation with €7.9m, followed by Donegal (€4.1m), Mayo (€3.4m), Galway (€3.3m) and Kerry (€2.8m). The lowest allocation is to Carlow, which gets €768,100.

The five city councils will also receive €15m to spend on so-called 'smarter travel' projects. These include dedicated bus and cycle lanes, better footpaths and improved road junctions. They are designed to encourage people to cycle, walk or use public transport instead of cars.

Councils have also been given a 'use it or lose it' directive by Transport Minister Leo Varadkar -- get the projects running this year or the funding will be lost.

Irish Independent

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