Remarks by the Tánaiste Joan Burton T.D. at the launch of ‘Building on Recovery’

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Since becoming Tánaiste, I’ve repeatedly said economic recovery is not enough – there must be a social recovery too.

Put simply, that means making life better for people in every community across the country.

Employment is a crucial aspect of that – and today’s latest figures, showing another decrease in unemployment to 9.4% from a crisis peak of more than 15%, really matter.

Because every new job – and we’re adding 1,300 every week now – benefits not just one person, but their families and communities.

This plan will create 45,000 construction jobs alone over its duration, as well as supporting hundreds of thousands of existing jobs throughout the economy.

Incomes matter too, which is why as Labour leader, I’m determined to ensure more take-home pay for low and middle-income earners in the forthcoming Budget.

Better infrastructure is another pillar of a better Ireland.

Better roads, rail links, schools, health facilities and broadband – all of these make our communities better and our economy stronger.

This six-year, €27 billion investment plan will achieve both aims.

And it will achieve it on a nationwide basis, across the regions.

As Minister Howlin will explain, the plan is built on affordability, sustainability and responsibility.

I’m delighted that we are in a position to commit to a rail link to the airport in today’s plan, and Minister Donohoe will give further details on that shortly.

The plan will also entail a range of additional and very significant investment in public transport in Dublin over the short, medium and long-term.

As a Dublin TD myself, I am particularly glad to confirm that:

  • The Connolly to Maynooth line will be upgraded to full DART service;
  • The Phoenix Park Tunnel will be upgraded and opened to commuter trains in 2016;
  • The Cross City LUAS to Broombridge in Cabra will come on stream in 2017;
  • There will be significant funding for new and replacement buses, further upgrading of Quality Bus Corridors, and road maintenance; and
  • The plan will make an additional €100m available to fund the relocation of the remaining two Dublin maternity hospitals – the Coombe to St James’s, and the Rotunda to Blanchardstown.

I just want to mention a few other elements of the capital plan that I believe are particularly important.

Firstly, the plan commits to significantly increasing the number of available school places to cater for our population needs.

The plan will fund an additional 19,000 primary school places by 2018, and 43,000 additional post-primary places by 2022.

I’m also delighted to say that, as well as upgrading ICT in our schools, the plan will ensure any remaining pre-fabs are replaced with permanent buildings.

Secondly, the plan is making an additional €31 million available for heritage and commemoration projects as part of the Government’s 2016 commemorative programme.

I’ve spoken before of my belief that culture and the arts require a new settlement, and this is a major first step in that process.

This sector was not exempt from the difficult adjustments of recent years, but our artists showed remarkable resilience through that period in turning out work that continued to sustain – and indeed enhance – Ireland’s cultural reputation internationally.

Fresh investment in culture and the arts will be returned many times over.

Those three examples give just a flavour of the way in which investment under this capital plan will be spread across all sectors and all communities.

It’s a plan to build on recovery and make life better for our people.


Last modified:29/09/2015