Govt €2.25bn stimulus package to create 13,000 jobs, €280m to go into education

17 Jul 2012

Ireland’s Government has revealed a €2.25bn stimulus plan that will generate 13,000 jobs in capital investment projects. The plan includes €280m worth of investment in education, including new schools and a massive campus for DIT at Grangegorman.

The long-awaited plan, which was leaked as if from a sieve throughout the course of today, focuses mainly on meeting priorities in terms of education, health, transport and justice.

Procurement for health projects will begin at the end of this year with construction starting in 2013. These will consist of 10 new health centres.

Procurement on education projects will begin in 2013 on a rolling basis with completion of school bundles during 2017 and 2018. This includes the construction of a major education facility for Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) at Grangegorman in 2013, with construction of the public private partnership (PPP) element beginning in late 2015.

Construction of justice projects is due to commence in 2013 and will continue into 2015. These include a €190m State Pathology Lab, new garda divisional headquarters and a number of courthouses.

In terms of roads, the N17/N18 Gort to Tuam motorway will commence in 2013 and the M11 Gorey to Enniscorthy and N25 New Ross bypass will begin by the end of 2014.

Focus on education

The €280m education sector stimulus will have two key elements: the planned consolidation of the DIT at the Grangegorman campus is to progress and two new public private partnerships (PPPs) school bundles will be rolled out, consisting of a total of 12 schools.

“The Government’s commitment to providing additional funding for the DIT higher education campus will allow commencement of the enabling works at the Grangegorman site next year – a prelude to the start of the roll out the PPP element of the project at the site,” Education Minister Ruairi Quinn, said.

“This demonstrates the determination of the Government to effectively tackle the needs of the DIT, currently the largest provider of higher education in the State. This is also very good news for the Grangegorman area and its residents as this major project will assist greatly in rejuvenating a large part of the inner city. Jobs will be created and, as the campus is developed, we expect other businesses and services to be attracted to the area,” Quinn said.

Some €180m of the Government’s estimated €2.25bn stimulus package announced today will go towards the Grangegorman project. DIT is currently located in 39 sites across the capital, some of which are in poor condition. The plan for Grangegorman is to combine these sites into one single world-class educational facility. Stage 1 of the consolidation process will be progressed in Phase 1 of this stimulus package.

The other major part of the education sector package announced today is the roll out of two further bundles of school projects to be delivered through PPPs worth a total of €100m. Bundles 4 and 5 were already announced for delivery as part of the five-year schools capital investment programme unveiled by the minister earlier this year.

However, today’s announcement means that the private sector, rather than the State, will bear the initial costs of the job-rich schools projects and they are expected to be delivered more quickly.

Schools Bundle 4 will consist of one primary and five post primary schools with an estimated value of €50m. Details of the six schools that will make up Bundle 5, also with an estimated value of €50m, are being finalised.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years