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EIB plugs €170m into Irish universities

The bank’s contribution to developments at Trinity College Dublin and University College Cork will help finance a €393m investment programme by the two universities.

The European Investment Bank has provided €170 million for teaching, research and student accommodation facilities at two universities in Ireland.

The bank is supporting Trinity College Dublin with a 30-year €70 million loan to finance a new research institute accommodation for up to 250 students. The project has a total cost of €150 million.

The EIB said the investment is the second of four planned phases of development as part of Trinity College’s bid to feature among the world’s top 30 research universities. It currently ranks at 175, according to the World University Rankings 2016-2017.

“Due to the current lack of funding of higher education in Ireland, the financing EIB has provided to Trinity has been crucial in our maintaining current and future standards,” said Patrick Prendergast, provost of Trinity College Dublin. “Without such support, quite frankly we would not have been able to progress with important flagship projects such as the Trinity Business School and Oisín House.”

The EIB also provided University College Cork with a €100 million loan for the construction of new teaching and research infrastructure as well as the renovation of student accommodation. The bank’s contribution will finance part the project’s €243 million total cost.

University College Cork said the funding shortfall left by the EIB will be filled by loans from Irish banking partners, philanthropy and existing resources. The funds will be drawn down over a five-year period. Trinity College Dublin said it is mainly looking to philanthropy for additional finance.

After a €200 million loan to a school in Ireland earlier in 2016, the EIB has now surpassed its record lending to education projects in Ireland in a single year. The country is the fifth-largest recipient of EIB support to universities.