Saturday 24 February 2018

Labour earmarks €500m from sale of AIB shares for bikes and buses

Alex White
Alex White
John Downing

John Downing

Labour has pledged to pump €1bn into the "green economy" with half of the money coming from the sale of government shares in Allied Irish Banks.

Communications Minister Alex White said half of the investment would go to a grant scheme to provide warmer homes, which would see 225,000 houses retrofitted. He said this had the capacity to create 13,000 jobs and save €39m in energy spending.

"The green economy has a great capacity to create employment and we have always been committed to greening our government actions," Mr White added.

The party has also proposed a phased replacement of the country's public bus fleet, moving towards electric buses. It also promised to introduce a subsidised cycle-to-school scheme working on the same lines as the current cycle-to-work scheme.

Labour TD Kevin Humphreys said it was important to continue investment in cycling and encouraging people to take more exercise while also improving traffic problems. He said that initiatives such as the public bike hire schemes had been promoted by his party and proved very successful.

"Motorists have now become much more aware of cyclists and it has become a safer place for cyclists on the roads. If we want to tackle obesity in children, it is best for them to cycle to work or to cycle to school and use the bikes," Mr Humphreys said.

"If we get the habit very early, we encourage a life-long commitment to cycling and I think that is beneficial."

Labour Dún Laoghaire candidate Carrie Smyth said the government had insulated 140,000 homes under grant schemes.

Irish Independent

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