More than half of the €405 million raised from the sale of the National Lottery is to be re-invested in a range of State projects and programmes, including the construction of new national indoor sports arena and the development of the Wild Atlantic Way driving route.
While €200 million has already been earmarked for proposed National Children's Hospital, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin announced yesterday in his Budget speech that the remaining €205 million would fund 14 separate schemes aimed at boosting "local economic activity and job creation".
He indicated a portion of the proceeds would go towards road repair and maintenance projects in several as yet unspecified counties, aimed at improving the country’s network of road and providing a stimulus for local economies hit by the recession.
Money will also be allocated to the Wild Atlantic Way driving route, an initiative aimed at boosting tourism along the country's Atlantic coastline by linking Donegal to West Cork in one unbroken route.
“The additional funding proposed will accelerate delivery of discovery points, lay-bys and other related infrastructure along the route,” a Department for Public Expenditure and Reform document said.
There will also be money put aside for the construction of a new national indoor sporting arena, to be located on the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown, which has potential to create 130 construction jobs and a further 20 long-term jobs involved in the operation of the arena.
Mr Howlin said the exact funding allocations for schemes would be included in the Revised Estimates to be published later in the year.
Additional funding, on top of the existing provision, would also be allocated for a new round of local sports capital grants to be awarded in 2014.
Part of the lottery money will fund several 1916 commemoration projects including the GPO's inner courtyard exhibition and interpretative facility, the Military Archives and some smaller projects chosen by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
Funding will also be made available for what the Minister called “pilot resolution strategies” for unfinished or so-called ghost housing estates in a number of local authority areas.
The money will also fund Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan's initiative whereby a city is selected and designated as a National City of Culture for one calendar year. Limerick City has been selected as the first Irish City of Culture for 2014.
The rest of the money will be divided up between the Government’s existing “better energy” housing programmes; housing adaptation grants for the elderly and the disabled; several other unspecified social housing projects; the proposed events centre in Cork and the proposed Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster in Ringaskiddy in Cork.
This scheme will also provide grant funding for primary schools which do not currently operate a book rental scheme, and for small-scale renovation projects for structures protected under planning law.
Mr Howlin said further sales of State assets would hopefully make more money available for capital projects in 2014.