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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 12 December, 2019
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Children's Hospital to go ahead but Metro North and DART underground shelved

The government’s capital expenditure announcements also included the news that the linking of the Luas lines will go ahead.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny (File photo)
Taoiseach Enda Kenny (File photo)
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE GOVERNMENT HAS outlined €17 billion in capital expenditure on a number of infrastructure projects over the next five years.

As part of the Infrastructure and Capital Investment programme 2012 – 2016, €4 billion will be spent next year but plans for the Metro North, DART underground transport projects in Dublin have been shelved.

Also deferred is the building of a prison at Thornton Hall in the capital and the construction of a single Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) campus at Grangegorman.

The project to link up the two Luas tram lines in the city and extend it to Broombridge in Cabra, north Dublin will go ahead

The construction of the National Children’s Hospital will also commence with the government funding its construction. Part of the cost will be borne from the licence for the National Lottery.

It was announced that construction will commence at the site of the Mater Hospital in 2013, with initial work taking place next year.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said “this is about choosing what the country needs most over the next few years and deferring other projects” until money becomes available.

Health

The construction of the National Children’s Hospital will be part of €1.9 billion being invested in the health sector with money also going to the National Radiation Oncology Project and the replacement of the Central Mental Hospital in Dublin.

Funding will also go to a number of care programmes including primary care, mental health, older people, disability and acute hospitals.

Education

Funding is to made available for the construction of 20 new primary and 20 new secondary schools as well as the refurbishment of 180 exisiting schools with €2.2 billion of capital allocated to be spent on capital projects for the next five years in education.

The government says that 100,000 permanent school places are to be provided over the next five years.

Capital funding is being made available to provide a primary schools minor works grant of €28 million for the current school year, which will be paid out in the coming weeks.

Environment

In total, €3 billion will be invested in the areas of water and housing. The Department of Environment said capital was being reduced by 18 per cent but that €861 million will be spent in 2012.

Overall, €1.6 billion will be sent on the water systems in Ireland to reduce instances of leaks and improve the standard of drinking water.

Other areas of investment include the Fire Services which will receive €16 million to 2016. Public Libraries will be developed and refurbished with €5 million allocated in 2012 and 2013 and a further €1 million each year from 2014 to 2016.

Transport

Road investment will be focused on the maintenance of existing roads as opposed to the construction of new roads. Yesterday the Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar confirmed that the proposed Monaghan to Derry A5 route was being shelved.

Overall spending on transport capital will fall by almost 50 per cent from €1.5 billion in 2011 to €0.8 billion in 2016. The construction of the so-called Luas BXD line will commence in 2015.

Justice

Although Thornton Hall will not be built, the government has said that €24.1 million will be spent on a Prison Service Building Programme as part of €56 million allocated to the justice sector.

IT and communications systems as well as  infrastructure will also be upgraded in the prisons service and the gardaí.

Liveblog: capital spending announcement >

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Hugh O'Connell

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