Jobs and education clear priorities for Government in capital spending programme – Deering

10th November, 2011

Carlow Fine Gael TD, Pat Deering, has said that the Government’s commitment to job creation and education has been underlined with the details of the medium term capital spending plan, as outlined today (Thursday).

“We are facing unprecedented times of economic hardship, which necessitate cutbacks to spending across all areas of Government. However, despite the budgetary constraints we are under, the Government has clearly illustrated its commitment to job creation and education through the capital spending plan published today.

“Despite the need to dramatically reduce spending, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has secured an increase in its capital budget to the highest ever level of €514 million in 2012. This is concrete evidence of the Government’s recognition that job creation must be prioritised.

“Enterprise Ireland’s capital budget will be increased by 4%, there will be a 10% boost in the number of high potential-starts ups supported next year and Innovation Partnerships will rise by one fifth. A Partial Loan Guarantee Scheme will also be introduced for SMEs and the IDA’s capital budget will be protected over the next five years.

“In the area of education, the Government is facing a number of challenges due to our high birth and rising population. To deal with this demand, the Government is committing an allocation for education of more than €2.2 billion over the next five years. This will allow for the construction of 40 new schools and the provision of 100,000 permanent school places. As a result of this investment, 11% of the total school population will benefit from new permanent places between now and 2016.

“As well as this, a minor works grant will be provided to primary schools in the coming school year. In the third level sector, a number of projects will be completed, including the UCD Science Centre, UL’s Medical School, NUI Maynooth’s library project and the new campus development at St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra.

“There are of course disappointments in today’s capital spending plan, as we simply do not have the money to do all we would like to. A number of projects envisaged during the boom are not feasible in the current climate. The Government must make difficult choices under extreme budget constraints. I believe the spending plans outlined today are proof that jobs and education are top of the priority list.”