Restrictions on employing foreigners

Construction companies will be restricted from employing foreigners on several new motorway projects that are expected to create 10,000 jobs.

The new routes and motorways that will be benefit from the stimulus package will be in Galway, Wexford and Waterford while there were also promises yesterday that further rail and road projects would still go ahead.

Leo Varadkar, the transport minister, admitted that companies could not be stopped from bringing in foreign workers but that firms may be pressured into employing certain numbers of Irish workers on projects.

“What we are going to try and work into the contracts is that they take on a certain number of people from the live register and they take on a number of apprentices who haven’t finished their training.”

Some €875m of the €2.25bn capital investment programme announced yesterday will go on transport schemes.

Three new stretches of motorway and road will be built, with work expected to start on some next year. The N17-18 Gort-Tuam link in Galway, the M11 Gorey-Enniscorthy motorway in Wexford and the N25 New Ross bypass, also in Wexford, will benefit from the funding.

Galway City’s bypass may also get funding, depending on the outcome of legal proceedings.

Mr Varadkar said projects were chosen that had existing planning permission, land bought and were ready to build.

Parts of the Public-Private Partnership (PPPs) projects also connect trans-European links and therefore qualify for funding from the European Investment Bank.

The minister did warn, though, that contractors may be reluctant to sign up to the PPPs because of equity risks involved and that this could delay the signing of contracts.

Mr Varadkar said none of the new stretches of road would be tolled. But tolling may apply to the Galway City bypass, if it goes ahead, he admitted.

Road works

* N17/18 Gort to Tuam, potential start early 2013: 57km providing bypasses for Clarinbridge, Claregalway and Tuam. This will improve connectivity in the west as well as economic development in the region.

* M11 Gorey to Enniscorthy, potential construction start early 2014: 26km of motorway on the N11, including a bypass of Enniscorthy.

* N25 New Ross bypass, potential construction start early 2014: 15km of bypass linking Waterford City and Wexford, while also improving access to Rosslare Harbour. It will help tourism in Waterford and Wexford and boost commercial development in the south east.

* Galway City outer bypass: A 12km route for the city linking the M6 route to Dublin. The project is on hold pending legal proceedings. Depending on these, it is hoped to progress it with similar funding at a later stage.

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