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Howlin announces €150m Exchequer Works Programme 2013/14

Minister Leo Varadkar, Minister Brendan Howlin, Minister of State Jan O'Sullivan and Minister Ruairi Quinn at the press conference today

Minister Leo Varadkar, Minister Brendan Howlin, Minister of State Jan O'Sullivan and Minister Ruairi Quinn at the press conference today

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin today announced an additional investment of €150 million in Exchequer capital funding for 2013 to 2014. This represents the first phase of the Exchequer element of the Stimulus Plan. 

The Minister also provided details on the extensive preparations being made on the Phase 1 PPP Programme, which comprised the larger part of the Stimulus Plan. The Government has also agreed a new PPP Pipeline of projects valued at up to €250m.The new programme of projects announced by the Minister today will include a mix of small scale essential works and some larger projects with roll out beginning over the summer.

The Minister said:

We are targeting additional Exchequer resources on smaller scale capital works mainly aimed at maintaining or improving existing assets.

Projects will be delivered in the areas of schools, energy efficiency and roads repairs.

The Minister continued:

Although the public finances are severely constrained, it is important that we build for the future. It is absolutely vital for our long-term well-being and prosperity that children have proper school buildings in which they can learn, that our roads are safe and well-maintained and that local authority housing is as energy efficient as possible. I am delighted to be able to make this funding available. 

The investment is additional to the capital allocations already provided for the relevant Departments (€414m for Education; €900m for Transport & €726m for Environment in 2013). The additional Exchequer investment will be funded through some of the proceeds from the Lottery licence and/or State asset disposals.

Read the full press release here.

In Education, work will be carried out on 28 schools to either replace school buildings or carry out large scale extension or refurbishment projects.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said:

This announcement highlights the Government’s commitment to prioritising investment in school buildings. Despite our economic difficulties, the need to replace inadequate educational infrastructure remains, and this stimulus package means that we can continue to deliver for our growing school communities. These projects will see over 10,000 students and their whole communities benefit from state-of-the-art accommodation, not to mention the economic boost to the construction industry.

For more details on the Education funding click here.

In the roads sector, moneys will be allocated to local roads to carry out much needed surface restoration and road reconstruction works.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said:

My Department is very conscious that two successive severe winters have taken their toll on the road network. While resources are limited, there is a risk that roads can deteriorate quite rapidly and are expensive to repair if repairs and maintenance are not carried out. This additional funding will help to address the shortfall in this area. The work will be carried out this summer and autumn. This funding will be provided directly to local authorities, which can start work on the repairs as soon as they receive the grants.

In the energy efficiency area, a new retrofitting scheme for local authority houses will target up to 25,000 older local authority dwellings and aim to ensure that adequate wall and attic insulation is provided in all occupied properties.

Housing Minister Jan O'Sullivan said:

Beginning this year the energy insulation measures will target the 25,000 least energy efficient local authority homes. This will result in warmer homes and lower energy bills for thousands of families and will also create more than 1000 jobs in the sector. The lower carbon emissions flowing from the measure are also a significant benefit.

For more details on the energy efficiency funding click here.