Ministers Ryan and Naughton welcome Jobs Stimulus Plan totaling €250m

• €115 million for active travel, public transport and renewal of transport infrastructure.

• €135m for energy efficiency, climate action and digital initiatives that will play a significant role in creating jobs for the new economy.

Today’s package will support those whose jobs are most at risk, and provide opportunities for those who need to reskill or find different work, as well as supporting businesses to stay open. Ireland’s economic recovery needs to sustainable and durable, not just from an economic point view, but from an environment and climate perspective too.

Department of Transport

Announcing details on what this stimulus package will mean for the transport sector Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks, Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, said:

“The Programme for Government commits toward a fundamental change in the nature of transport in Ireland and now, just a few weeks after agreeing that programme, I’m delighted to be able to demonstrate that commitment with this July Stimulus.

I’m announcing a total package of just over €100m to support sustainable mobility, and importantly almost 80% of that package will be directed toward active travel in both urban and rural areas. This increased funding will support local authorities across the country in their response to the challenges of COVID-19. We’ve seen some fantastic examples recently of local authorities improving towns and villages through re-orientating streets toward the pedestrian, the cyclist and public transport and I want to see that replicated in every local authority area.

We’ll also see new bus services introduced by year end in Drogheda, while enhanced and improved services will be introduced in Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Laois / Offaly, Limerick, and Mayo. I’m conscious that we need to provide enhanced, improved and expanded public transport across the country to enable people make the switch and measures like this are a step in the right direction.

On rail, we’re allocating an additional €21m toward the inter-urban rail network. The funding will primarily support works along the Dublin-Cork line and will mean that 50% of the line is capable of 160kmh speeds by the end of the year, while we’ll also be supporting an expanded programme of station improvements which will benefit passengers also.”

Minister Ryan concluded –

“This is the start of what I intend to be a continuing programme of investment over the lifetime of this Government, We have a real opportunity to make the fundamental change needed in Irish transport and that change starts now.”

The stimulus package for transport includes:

• €40m for pedestrian infrastructure

• €42m to support urban and rural cyclists

• €21m towards improving rail journeys

• €10m for the adaptation of the road network to protect it in respect of climate change (including repairs to damaged roads as a result of severe weather events)

• €2m for new and expanded local bus services

• €0.25m to support the transition of local link services to zero-emission vehicles in areas of rural Ireland.

Minister of State, Hildegarde Naughton TD, added:

“The funding announced today will also support better transport infrastructure across the country.

Maintaining Ireland’s existing road network of approximately 100,000kms will be important in ensuring that we have efficient roadway to support our public transport, cyclists, walkers, car users and the movement of our goods and services. €10m will be allocated to preserve and adapt our local and regional roads to protect it from the effects of climate change and severe weather events

Importantly, these initiatives are jobs rich, will be delivered this year and will have a real and immediate impact for all road users in villages, towns and cities across the country, whether they are pedestrians, cyclists, motorists or those using public transport. I strongly urge all local authorities to prioritise suitable schemes and seek funding from my Department as soon as possible.”

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Announcing details on what this stimulus package will mean for the energy sector Minister Ryan said:

“The Programme for Government set highly-ambitious targets for the number and depth of retrofits to be completed by 2030. We need to retrofit 500,000 homes and install 400,000 heat pumps in existing homes over the next 10 years to reduce carbon emissions and make homes more comfortable.

Delivering on this target also provides us with an opportunity to create and sustain jobs in the new, green economy. The July Stimulus commits to increasing the SEAI budget by €100 million in 2021. This money will be focused on community retrofit schemes, retrofit schemes supporting those in energy poverty as well as other initiatives to support the achievement of our retrofit targets. The SEAI will be announcing the first details of the new and expanded retrofit schemes next month. By announcing this funding now, we are providing certainty to the sector so that they can continue approved programmes of work, bid into new and expanded schemes, maintain a pipeline of retrofit activity, and sustain and create jobs.

Delivering on our retrofit targets in the coming years while maintaining quality will require a significant level of investment in training and skills development. In this regard, I am pleased that my colleague, Minister Harris, will invest €500,000 in programme seed funding for the development of new reskilling and activation courses that will be rolled out in 2021. I also welcome the commitment to finalise the new Apprenticeship Action Plan before year end. The Plan will set out a programme of actions to secure an expansion of apprenticeship recruitment by the public and private sectors. Given the massive ramp up required in our national retrofit programme I expect a strong focus on this sector in the Action Plan.

An additional €15 million funding is being made available this year to commence a multi-year programme to rehabilitate 33,000 hectares of Bord na Móna peatlands. The additional funding will support a just transition by maintaining jobs in the Midlands, as well as laying the foundation for more substantial and sustainable job creation into the future. The enhanced rehabilitation scheme will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by significantly increasing the area of wetland habitats in post-production peatlands. This will lower carbon emissions by approximately 6 tonnes of CO2 per hectare per year and, in the long-term, create significant carbon sinks.

An additional €20m in funding is being made available under the Jobs Stimulus for the Trading Online Voucher Scheme, bringing total funding in 2020 to just under €40m. The Scheme offers advice and peer-to-peer support and a grant of up to €2,500 to help small and micro-businesses to develop their ecommerce capability. The additional funding will provide support for a further 8,000 small and micro-businesses to bring their business online.”

The Stimulus Package for DCCAE includes:

• A significant increase in funding of €100m to support retrofit activity in 2021, creating an additional 3,200 direct and indirect quality, sustainable jobs in local communities throughout the country.

• An additional €15 million funding is being made available this year to commence a multi-year programme to rehabilitate 33,000 hectares of Bord na Móna peatlands.

• An additional €20m in funding is being made available for the Trading Online Voucher Scheme, bringing total funding in 2020 to just under €40m.