World Cup bid to space race: 10 budget items you may might missed

Extra funding to boost farm safety, flood prediction and video games among others

Budget2020: Ten big spends  that didn’t make the headlines. Photograph: iStock

Budget2020: Ten big spends that didn’t make the headlines. Photograph: iStock

 

Income tax relief, increased welfare payments and carbon tax rises were well-flagged prior to the announcement of Budget 2022. However, the year’s biggest political set piece contains hundreds of other measures. Here are 10 that may have passed you by:

1. €6.4 million to attract major sports events

An extra €400,000 has been allocated to efforts to attract major sports events to Ireland bringing the overall funding for this up to €6.4 million. High on the list of targets is the 2030 football World Cup – a joint bid with the United Kingdom. Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers said on Wednesday that there is ongoing engagement between the two governments on the proposal. “We’re a massive sporting nation. Major events bring a huge amount of economic benefit to the State but also lift our people,” he said, highlighting the 2027 Ryder Cup which is to be held at Adare Manor, Co Limerick. He added that the major events unit in his department are always open to “thinking big” on which events can be brought to Ireland.

2. Tax break for households selling electricity back to national grid

There is to be a tax break on income for households who can generate power – typically with solar panels – and sell electricity back to the national grid. The first €200 of such income will be disregarded when it comes to income tax. It is expected the measure will cost the State €1 million next year. The move is in advance of the energy regulator putting in place the regulation to allow for payments for the micro-generation of electricity which is due to start in the first quarter of 2022.

3. Farmer and animal welfare

There will be a dedicated €2 million fund for the Department of Agriculture to help improve farm safety with increasing awareness and training among the steps that need to be taken to reduce fatal and serious incidents, according to junior minister Martin Heydon. Animals haven’t been forgotten about. There is to be an extra €1.5 million in ex gratia payments for animal welfare organisations.

4. Cybersecurity

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) led the State’s response to the cyberattack on the health service earlier this year. Staff numbers are to increase from 20 to 45 on the back of extra funding for the Department of Communications. This is to support a Government commitment to “build its capacity to strengthen cybersecurity and build resilience in data and networks across the Government and private sector.”

5. €13 million for the weather

Met Éireann will use €13 million in capital funding to upgrade and modernise its weather radar infrastructure and to continue work to set up a national flood forecasting and warning service. The Government expects to spend €104.7 million through the Office of Public Works in 2022 on flood risk management with most of this paying for relief schemes. Three schemes that will protect 820 properties are expected to be substantially completed in 2022.

6. Doctors and psychologists for prisons

There are plans by the Department of Justice to allocate €1 million for the recruitment of doctors, nurses and other staff to enhance healthcare throughout the Prison Service. Another €200,000 is to be spent on hiring psychologists “to facilitate early engagement of people convicted of sexual violence for assessment and treatment.”

7. Covid-19 awareness

Don’t expect an end anytime soon to ads extolling the benefits of hand-washing and wearing face coverings as well as the latest information on measures to respond to the pandemic. The Department of the Taoiseach is to deliver the “remaining whole-of-Government response to Covid-19”. Some €4 million has been allocated for “Covid-19 public communications” in 2022.

8. Tax incentive to boost digital games industry

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said the Government wants Ireland to be a hub for the massive digital gaming industry. A new tax credit for the sector for up to 32 per cent of eligible expenditure is aimed at helping Ireland to win a bigger part of the industry worth $300 billion (€259 billion) worldwide. It is hoped that synergies with Ireland’s film and animation sectors “can support quality employment”.

9. Extra €11.2 million to support Irish language

TG4 will get a significant chunk of the extra funding for the Irish language and can expect €4.2 million in additional cash next year. Údarás na Gaeltachta is to get an extra €1.5 million for its work promoting enterprise in Gaeltacht areas and additional funding of more than €700,000 will also be provided for the cross-Border language body, An Foras Teanga. In all, more than €90 million has been allocated for the Gaeltacht and Irish language sector when the TG4 funding is taken into account.

10. €3 million more for the final frontier

Ireland is to contribute an extra €3 million to the European Space Agency programme with the aim of ensuring Irish companies can compete and win contracts. Minister of State for Enterprise Damien English says there are now more than 90 Irish companies involved in space technology ventures and the Government wants to drive this further.