CAPITAL EXPENDITURE MUST BE INCREASED

Issued 3 May 2017

The Labour Party in a submission to the Government's Mid Term review of Capital Expenditure has called for an increase in the available budget. Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin also reiterated his call for the sale of shares in AIB to be halted until the proceeds can be committed to Irish infrastructure.

Deputy Howlin said:

"I welcome the news over recent days that Fianna Fáil is now supporting the Labour Party call for the use of AIB share sale proceeds for investment. They now need to follow that up with action in Europe to ensure that the fiscal rules are amended to allow such a course of action."

"The Labour Party will bring a motion to the Dáil next week calling for the sale of AIB to be postponed until the fiscal rules are changed.

"I have been working with my colleagues in Europe to change the capital investment rules. I hope Fianna Fail will back up their rhetoric with action by working with ALDE in the EU to achieve the same goal.

"Under the Government's current plans there is an additional €2.65 billion available for capital spending.

"With Brexit, investment will also have to be targeted at our roads, and port infrastructure, capacity must be increased in public transport, and additional local authority housing should be funded too.

"But construction costs are rising, and the economy continues to grow limiting the impact that package will have.

"Our population is growing, and aging which will also soak up much of the package as we believe it will need to be committed to additional acute hospital beds and classrooms. This means there will be little additional money for major projects.

"The Labor Party has identified the €3 billion to be allocated to Fine Gael's Rainy Day fund from 2019 to 2021 as a source of funding for major projects. We believe these funds would cover the cost of the three new maternity hospitals that are planned but not funded, the construction of the M20 linking Cork and Limerick, as well as the electrification and delivery of DART services on the Maynooth-Connolly line, and Heuston-Hazelhatch Kildare line, alongside other necessary projects.

"We also believe the proceeds of the AIB sale when the rules are changed, could be used to climate proof our country, upgrade and renovate public buildings and their energy efficiency including all local authority housing and flat complexes; fund the DART interconnector; and finally deliver a publicly owned broadband network."