Taoiseach Brian Cowen today launched the ‘Government’s Infrastructure Investment Priorities for 2010 – 2016’. The publication of the capital investment programme took place at the National Convention Centre in Dublin.
It outlines the Government’s plan to invest €40bn in capital projects over a period of seven years, with a view to creating 30,000 sustainable jobs and attracting more foreign investment. The programme is said to be the highest in the European Union and double the amount of the average stimulus package. It has been readjusted to suit the changes the Irish economy experienced in 2008 and 2009.
The major areas of spending of the €40bn will be allocated to: education (€4.21bn), health (€2.89bn), enterprise (€3.69bn), public transport (€5.77bn), roads (€5.97bn) and environmental services (€3.66bn). Other sectors which will receive funds include community development, ICT and energy, flood management and relief, tourism, culture and sports facilities, and in detention facilities, courthouses and Garda administration.
By investing in education, the Government hopes to upgrade and expand primary and secondary schools, and is providing €150m for information and communication technology in schools. Research and innovation is a major area of focus, with an expected 30 percent increase in the number of firms with significant resources for research and development, according to the priorities report. To stimulate growth in the area of enterprise, funding will be given to programmes developed by Enterprise Ireland and the IDA. A target of 63,000 new jobs has been set by Enterprise Ireland, from 2010 to 2016. In relation to foreign direct investment (FDI), provision has been made for funding for 640 new projects, which will create 98,000 direct jobs in FDI firms.