Capital spending plan: €875m justice pledge

An extra €205m to equip the gardaí with modern technology is part of a €875m justice capital plan promised by the outgoing Government.

Capital spending plan: €875m justice pledge

The plan, running from 2016 to 2021, pledges a total of €46m for new Garda vehicles and €18m for refurbishment of garda stations.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the package will deliver the new Family & Children’s Court Complex in Dublin and the long-promised new Forensic Science Laboratory. She said the €205m would go towards a new computer aided dispatch system, mobile technology, investigation management systems and rollout of the automated number plate recognition system.

Some €10m is earmarked for court refurbishments. Funding will enable the development and fit-out of a new Forensic Science Laboratory near Lucan, west Dublin.

Spending on roads in the south

Road investment in the capital spending programme will see bottlenecks targeted to allow for free-flowing traffic.

Works on the list include the Mallow relief road and the N28 Cork to Ringaskiddy road which business chiefs have said could lead to a major jobs boost as it connects the city to the sprawling port facilities.

The N8/N25 Dunkettle interchange at Glanmire is to get part of €1.6bn set aside for new projects.

The N22 Ballyvourney to Macroom will also receive a boost under the capital programme.

And in Co Wexford, the Gorey to Enniscorthy M11 project will be completed as well as the New Ross bypass.

However, there was disappointment as the proposed motorway link between Cork and Limerick was again shelved as Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said that there were not sufficient funds to give it the green light.

€1bn for flood defences

Flood defences will get a €1bn boost under the capital investment plans, with Cork in line for specific attention.

Ministers say Cork has been given a high priority within the OPW’s largest-ever defence scheme which is intended to protect 2,000 houses. Work on the plan is expected to be completed by 2021, and will see new walls, and embankments at Curraheen, Glasheen, the north channel, and part of the south channel. The south channel will also get improved flow reduction, and localised defences set-up between Inniscarra and the city.

Dam-operating procedures will be developed for extreme events, and a detailed flood forecasting system put in place. Ministers say the moves are needed after severe flooding in Cork in recent years means a high risk remains of “considerable damage to property from tidal and river flooding” unless major investment is made to protect homes and businesses.

€3.5bn earmarked for schools

Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Political Reporter

Hundreds of dilapidated and out-of-date schools starved of vital resources are to benefit from a €3.5bn investment, if the Government’s high-profile capital plan is fully implemented.

Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan confirmed the money has been ringfenced for long-overdue school building projects yesterday, in a move the Coalition hopes will brings to an end to vote-losing scenes of children being taught in overcrowded classes.

While the exact list of the schools to benefit from the funding between 2016 and 2021 will not be outlined until next month’s budget, 270 rural and Deis (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) schools will be given priority.

The capital plan is entirely dependent on the recovery continuing for the next six years if any of its measures are to see the light of day.

€5m part of other €30m fund

The €5m promised in the capital investment plans has already been announced as part of a €30m package intended to boost the rural economy unveiled at the National Ploughng Championships last week.

That package was condemned as “too little too late” by the opposition and rural interest groups.

The Government has come under constant attack for slow progress on bringing broadband to country areas, but the capital plan insists the ambition to bring high speed connection to all parts of Ireland by 2020 will be achieved.

The €5m includes €1m to set up a Strategic Development Office in the west of the country.

The capital plan states that €275m has already been committed to the National Broadband Fund over a six-year period.

The capital plan is vague on how combinations between the Government and private companies will boost connectivity.

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