Ireland unveils €40bn infra stimulus

The government of Ireland has announced an infrastructure stimulus plan of €40bn between now and 2016. A report from the finance ministry states that a significant proportion of the investment will come from the private sector.

The Irish government has announced a €40 billion stimulus package in order to build its infrastructure sector. The government plans to spend this amount between now and 2016 with significant investment through public-private partnerships (PPPs) in major public transport projects including roads, and social infrastructure, the Irish finance ministry said in a statement.

O'Connell Bridge

According to a finance ministry report, proportionately this investment will be amongst the highest spending on infrastructure in the EU. The plan prioritises major projects such as Dublin’s Metro North rail link and DART underground interconnector, and the new Dublin Institute of Technology campus in Grangegorman in the north of Dublin.

The plan allocates close to €12 billion to build a sustainable and economically valuable transport system, one of the highest allocations made in the fund. Of the €12 billion, the government has pledged to invest €5.7 billion on public transport projects, such as Metro North and DART Underground, that have already received a green signal from the government.

Meanwhile, a sum of €6 billion will be spent on the completion of major inter-urban roads and for safety and maintenance works on these routes. By the end of 2010, Ireland hopes to invest at least €11 billion in national roads and public transport.

Key public transport projects that are expected to be included as part of the development plan on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis, according to the report, are the DART upgrade and new modern bus and rail fleet for Irish Rail, Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann; new or upgraded train lines to Dunboyne and Kildare; a new commuter rail line in Cork; Phase 1 of the Western Rail Corridor; new Luas rail extensions to the Docklands and Cherrywood; as well as substantial implementation of integrated ticketing (where transfers are included in a single ticket); and the Luas line to Citywest.

However, media reports suggest that some projects like the Western Rail Corridor, the new prison at Thornton Hall in North Dublin and the Dublin-Navan rail link have been cut out of the government’s capital programme for the next six years. The Irish finance ministry was not available for comment on this.

The government plans to create about 270,000 jobs by 2016 under the plan. Other areas where the Irish government has allocated funds under the plan include community development; ICT and energy; food management and relief; tourism, culture and sports facilities; and in detention facilities, court houses and Garda (police) administration.