Additional hospital beds to be delivered four years early by 2027
‘Project Ireland – 2040’ plan to be announced after Cabinet meeting in Sligo
The 2,600 additional hospital beds which were recently recommended in the Government’s bed capacity review will all be provided under the new capital plan
The 2,600 additional hospital beds which were recently recommended in the Government’s bed capacity review will all be provided under the new capital plan, which will say they will be delivered by 2027, four years earlier than previously suggested.
Some of these new beds will be based at a new acute hospital to be developed in Cork, although the capital plan is not expected to set out the size of this development, its exact location or a timeline for the project.
The move is expected to be one of the major elements of the Government’s “Project Ireland – 2040” plan to be announced after a Cabinet meeting in Sligo today.
In the health sector, it is also expected that more funding will be allocated to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, as well as towards residential facilities for people with disabilities.
About a fifth of the plan will go towards measures to tackle climate change. The only diesel-powered vehicles that will be allowed to be purchased after 2019 will be buses, and no petrol- or diesel-powered vehicle will be allowed on the roads from 2045 onwards.
There will also be proposals to encourage the retrofitting of homes to increase energy efficiency through measures such as increasing the grant to improve a home’s BER rating to B standard to €45,000 from €30,000 within three years.
The sale of petrol- and diesel-powered cars will be banned within 12 years as part of new measures to tackle climate change.
The State will instead move to a system under which all vehicles bought by 2030 must be so-called zero emission. It is estimated that 500,00 electric vehicles will be on the road by 2030.
A new €500 million “disruptive technologies” fund will also be established from next year to encourage the development of new technologies in healthcare, financial services, energy and food production, and business services.
“The fund will, among other things, facilitate enterprises to compete directly for funding in support of the development and adoption of these disruptive technologies, and seed a new wave of start-ups,” a Government source said.
Significant investment is also expected in ports such as Rosslare and Cork. An additional runway will be built at Dublin Airport, as will a new command centre for the airport.
The main infrastructural project in transport will be a revised Metro North, although a number of new Luas lines will proceed along development stages. However, construction on these lines – such as to Finglas – will not begin until Metro North is largely completed, expected in 2027.
A construction industry group will be established to ensure the sector is adequately equipped to deal with greater demand for housing supply.
It is anticipated that the overall intentions for investment in some areas will be announced today, but that the details will not be fully revealed until the weeks and months ahead.
A new office, the National Regeneration and Development Agency, will also be established to ensure that land is strategically developed across the country. Of particular focus for the new agency will be so-called brownfield sites, which were previously used for industrial or commercial purposes, and sites held by State agencies and local authorities.
Athlone and Sligo are expected to be designated special status for their regions of the midlands and northwest respectively, and there will also be funding for the regeneration of Waterford quays.
Counties in the northwest and the northeast will receive money to help offset the negative impacts of Brexit.