The strategic regional infrastructure projects, which are part of the Government’s previously announced €42bn framework for infrastructure investment plan for 2016 to 2021, will ensure the economic recovery continues in the main development counterpoint to the capital and will provide for up to 45,000 construction jobs, they said.
Defence Minister Simon Coveney rejected suggestions that the timing of the announcement was a cynical pre-election ploy.
“Yes, a lot of these big projects have been announced and people have heard them and today is about re-enforcing that,” he said. But it’s also about talking about the detail in other areas.
“For example, the Government is committing up to €200m to building social housing — which will deliver over 2,500 social homes by 2017, and 40 new schools.
“This is about committing €1bn to projects over next five years to ensure economic growth, which has been very hard one through difficult times, is re-enforced and supported by investment in the public infrastructure we need to ensure Cork continues to grow, in an ambitious way.”
The details were announced by Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin and Mr Coveney, in the company of ministers of state Dara Murphy, Kathleen Lynch, Sean Sherlock, and Jimmy Deenihan, at the Irish Maritime Energy Resource Cluster (Imerc) at Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, which itself is to receive some €25m funding under the capital plan.
Other projects to benefit will include the Dunkettle interchange and the N28 road projects, the N22 Ballyvourney to Macroom upgrade, the Dingle relief road, a huge flood defence scheme for Cork, €60m to fund the clean-up of Haulbowline island in Cork Harbour, €30m for the redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh, €12m for the Cork events centre, and €7m for the Kerry Sports Academy at IT Tralee.
The funding package also provides for investment in a new radiation oncology unit in Cork University Hospital, the roll-out of primary care centres, the construction of new garda stations in Macroom and Glanmire in Co Cork, and the refurbishment of garda stations at Anglesea Street in Cork and in Tralee.
Ms Lynch said now that the recovery has begun, it is vital that the Government invests in infrastructure that leads to better services.