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Roads and schools to get €150m in lotto sale

THE sale of the national lottery licence and part of Bord Gais will help fund €150m of road repairs, new school buildings and home insulation.

Split three ways, dozens of construction schemes will begin this summer, with the first tranche going on road surfaces chewed up by two bad winters.

Another €50m is to be used for new state-of-the-art classrooms and facilities in 18 primary and 10 post-primary schools catering for more than 12,000 students.

And the rest will be used to insulate the country's 25,000 least energy-efficient local authority homes.

Jan O'Sullivan, junior minister responsible for housing and planning, said the €50m investment in her department would both reduce energy bills for the country's poorest householders and create 1,000 jobs.



"It will benefit some of the poorest people living in these local authority houses," she said.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said the money has been allocated on top of €350m already set aside for repairs at the start of the year.

It will be spread across all 29 councils, primarily to keep tarmac up to scratch on regional and local roads.

Mr Varadkar said each local authority will decide on priority repairs, but that the top-up for each will be "quite modest" to prevent them cutting their own roads budgets.

"Many of these roads have been badly damaged through two severe winters," Mr Varadkar said. "Work needs to be carried out this year."

In the school building programme, works will either replace old, unsuitable buildings or see large extensions or refurbishments.

The Department of Education said the construction bill will be closer to €90m and that it will meet the €40m shortfall from its existing budget.

Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, said it will be the first time since 2008 that the capital budget across several departments has increased.

However Fianna Fail spokesperson Sean Fleming TD dismissed the announcement "as political window dressing".

"An extra €150m is a drop in the ocean compared to the cut that has been taken place to date and that are planned for this year," he said.