EU investment bank to lend State €100m for schools
MINISTER FOR Finance Michael Noonan has said he hopes the European Investment Bank will commit €1 billion a year to Ireland in future, following the announcement of a €100 million loan for school buildings.
EIB president Werner Hoyer, who met a series of senior Government figures in Dublin yesterday, said the money for the school-building programme would make a “small but not insignificant contribution” to job creation here.
The EIB is the European Union’s bank and its shareholders are the 27 member states, which have jointly subscribed its capital. Mr Noonan said the bank had provided Ireland with very significant investment funding in the past and he hoped that could be expanded.
“At present they’re committed to about a half a billion a year, if you could get it flowing freely, and over a period of time that adds up. If we could double that it would have an impact on the infrastructure, it would make our economy more productive and it would lead to the kind of job creation we need,” he said.
The “confidence-building” impact of the investment in school buildings should not be underestimated at a time when people were “beginning to feel a little better about the economy”, he added.
“If there’s a lot of schools being built all over the country you have activity again in the towns and villages, and it’s activity that people can identify with because it’s the schools their kids will be attending,” he said.
Mr Hoyer, speaking after a meeting with Mr Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin yesterday morning, said the EIB was committed to building on its strong partnership with Ireland. Mr Hoyer said he thought the school-building projects could begin quickly.
“Most of these things can be done immediately because the need is there,” he said.
Mr Howlin said the Government was anxious to secure co- funding of school buildings and the education sphere generally, as well as roads and other infrastructure. “What’s announced today is extremely important in and of itself but it’s part of, I hope, a series of much bigger announcements,” he said.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny later said the European Council decision last week had allowed for a further “injection” of finance into the EIB, “which leverages up extra finance for budgets that are economically viable and sustainable”.
Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn said the €100 million loan would support his department’s capital investment programme. He announced details in March of 275 school-building projects worth €1.5 billion to begin by 2016. The EIB loan would assist in funding this investment, he said.
The loan will be used in the construction and upgrading of 35 primary and 12 second-level schools around the country, with construction work expected to be finished by 2014.
Mr Quinn said the loan would prove “immensely beneficial” in enabling implementation of the programme in the most cost-effective manner for the taxpayer.
The loan will be managed by the National Treasury Management Agency on behalf of the State.
Schools Set To Benefit
SCHOOLS EXPECTED to benefit from the €100 million loan to the Government from the European Investment Bank:
CarlowCarlow Educate Together;
CavanCarrigabruise National School, Virginia;
ClareEnnis National School;
CorkRathcormac NS; Gaelscoil Ui Riordain; Gaelscoil Chlochna Coilte Scoil Phadraig, Rochestown; Carrigaline CS, Waterpark Road, Carrigaline; Scoil Nioclais, Frankfield, Grange; Scoil Mhuire, 2 Sydney Place, Wellington Road; Ashton Comprehensive School, Blackrock Road
DonegalSt Patrick’s NS, Lurgybrack; Gaelscoil Adhamanain, Letterkenny
DublinStanhope Street Convent Primary School, Dublin 7; Inchicore NS; Mulhuddart National School; Scoil Choilm Community National School Luttrellstown; CC Senior College, Dún Laoghaire; St Mary’s NS, Airlie Heights, Woodview, Lucan; Dublin Belgard Ballycragh NS, Ballycragh, Firhouse, Tallaght; Gaelscoil Eiscir Riada, Dublin; Scoil Bride, Blanchardstown, Stephenstown, Balbriggan; Scoil Chormaic, Thornleigh ET Swords; Holywell ET Blanchardstown West ETNS Ardgillan Community College; Holy Trinity NS, Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown
GalwayOughterard NS; Tirellan Heights NS, Headford Road; Coláiste Iognáid
KildareScoil Phadraig, Ballylinan, Athy
LaoisPortarlington Convent NS
LimerickArdscoil Ris, North Circular Rd; St. Munchin’s College, Limerick City; Kilfinane National School
LongfordEdgeworthstown NS; St Matthew’s Mixed NS, Ballymahon
LouthSt Francis’ NS, Dundalk
MayoOur Lady’s Secondary School, Belmullet Meath SN Realtna Mara Boys Realtna Mara Girls; Dunshaughlin Community College Tipperary Scoil Mhuire Presentation Secondary School, Ballingarry, Thurles
WaterfordGaelscoil na Deise, Grace Dieu Road, Waterford; Waterford Educate Together NS
WicklowSt Catherine’s Special School, Newcastle