A massive €27 billion for capital investment on hospitals, transport and education between 2016 and 2022 was announced on Tuesday by the government. Ministers said up to 45,000 jobs were being created with spending to benefit every part of the country.
A center-piece will be a new rail link from Dublin city center to the airport and on the town of Swords in the north of the county.
A significant road system bottleneck will be removed with the creation of a €110 million upgrade of the N7 Naas dual carriageway, allowing a free flow of traffic from Cork and Waterford to Belfast via Dublin, thus linking easy road access between Ireland’s three biggest cities.
Capital spending has suffered during the recession with few projects getting the go-ahead, and many cancelled.
Transport was the biggest to be hit, but on Tuesday one of the plans -- for a metro service to Dublin Airport and Swords -- was resurrected, though with fewer stations.
There will be €1 billion spent over 10 years on flood relief programs in 300 at-risk areas across the country.
The government’s “Building for Recovery” plan will see Dublin city center Rotunda Hospital moved to Blanchardstown, in what will be seen as a major coup for Health Minister Leo Varadkar and Tanaiste Joan Burton.
A new National Maternity Hospital is to be built on the campus of St. Vincent's Hospital.
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has secured over €200 million for a new Garda IT system, as well as funding for station refurbishments, new Garda vehicles and a forensic science laboratory.
Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin emphasized that the plan aims to ensure “every part of the country benefits” and not just Dublin.
“It will pump €27 billion into roads, rail, health facilities, schools, broadband and more to make our communities better and our economy stronger,” he said.
Senior coalition sources said there have been significant efforts to ensure the plan is viewed as benefiting rural Ireland to the same degree as urban areas.
In health, up to €400 million will be used to replace or upgrade older community nursing homes and disability centers by the end of the decade. Many of them date back to the 1800s.
Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan secured more than €3.5 billion for primary and post-primary school building projects, as well as significant funding for the new digital strategy for schools.
Howlin said that while the spending plan is ambitious, the money being spent will not undermine the recovery.