The two-phase programme will be funded from a variety of sources including the National Pension Reserve Fund, investment from the European Investment Bank, public private partnerships, a “substantial proportion” of the proceeds from the sale of state assets, and the auctioning of the next National Lottery licence.
In what the government will hope is a significant step on the path to economic independence, none of the measures in the new package of proposals are to be funded by cash from the EU-IMF bailout arrangement.
The first phase, comprising of €1.4 billion, will be channelled into projects which “meet key infrastructural needs”, including a €280 million programme of school-building in two ‘bundles’ across the country over the next six years.
Over half of that investment, €850 million, will be invested in the motorway network including upgrades to the M11 including a bypass at Enniscorthy, as well as 57km of works on the N17 and N18 to bypass Clarinbridge, Claregalway and Tuam to begin within two years.
A further 12km orbital route around Galway, bypassing the city – akin to the M50 project around Dublin – is also planned, but is currently stalled due to legal proceedings.
€190 million will be invested in a new State Pathology laboratory, divisional Garda headquarters and new courthouses in Cork, Waterford and Mullingar, while in the health sector, up to 20 new primary care centres will be built at a cost of €115 million.
This stimulus package is in addition to the €17bn five year Public Capital Programme, recent NAMA announcement of €2bn to complete construction projects along with recent significant Foreign Direct Investment announcements and is likely provide much needed support to the construction industry and potentially provide thousands of jobs across the country.