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New site for DIT faces the axe in cutbacks

THE Government is axing a planned new college for Dublin Institute of Technology on the site of the old Grangegorman hospital.

It will be among a series of projects cut as part of drastic changes to the capital spending programme up to 2016.

Among them are five rail projects on which the State has already spent more than €225m.

Iarnrod Eireann and the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) spent the money planning and designing underground railway systems and Luas light-rail projects for Dublin, which were expected to cost more than €5bn to build.

Details of what projects will be hit will be revealed when Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin today outlines how €750m will be taken out of the capital-spending budget for next year, with further cuts each year up to 2014.

The 'Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012 -- 2016: Medium Term Exchequer Framework' will detail where the axe will fall to help save €1.4bn over the next four years.

Broadband, rail projects, roads, flood defences and science research funding are likely to be the hardest hit, but money will be spent on schools and hospitals.

Construction work on the massive €486m DIT project in the north inner city was due to start next year. Preparations are well advanced and only last week the Grangegorman Development Authority sought tenders for the provision of financial services.

However, the Government will give it the chop today. It is also slashing a number of other third-level building projects where legal contracts have not been signed and funding for other third-level research projects is also being cut.

The Government had committed €212m to the Grangegorman project, with DIT providing the balance.

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The institute caters for 22,000 students -- 9pc of the national third-level population -- spread around 39 buildings in the city.

The move to a unified campus was meant to offer a long-awaited rationalisation and elimination of duplication of services.

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