Jobs initiative to include €30m for ‘shovel-ready’ school projects

Jobs initiative to include €30m for ‘shovel-ready’ school projects

 

MARY MINIHAN

THE GOVERNMENT’S jobs initiative, a stimulus package to generate employment to be announced tomorrow, will include €30 million for school building improvement and create almost 3,000 mostly construction-related jobs.

So-called “shovel-ready” refurbishment and renovation projects in at least 380 national and secondary schools across the State will get under way this year, Education Minister Ruairí Quinn’s spokeswoman confirmed.

Announcing the summer building works scheme in March, Mr Quinn approved projects such as gas, electrical and mechanical works for 453 primary and post-primary schools. Schools that were disappointed not to be included in that list may benefit from tomorrow’s announcement.

The spokeswoman said €20 million will come from existing resources in the Department of Education’s budget, while an additional €10 million will come from the exchequer. The announcement will create 2,400 direct jobs, mainly in the construction sector, as well as 480 indirect jobs, she added. The labour-intensive upgrading projects were already “costed and ready to go”, and would improve the State’s school infrastructure, she said.

Further education and training programmes will also be announced by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in the Dáil tomorrow.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said aspects of the jobs initiative would target young unemployed people and encourage additional spending but warned it should not be viewed as a “magic bullet” for economic recovery.

“Some of it will be age-related, if you like, in the sense that the labour activation measures that it is likely to contain are more likely to be focused on younger people who are out of work or need to get back into the workforce,” Mr Gilmore said.

He said work was still being done at the weekend on the initiative, which was designed to restore some confidence in the economy and encourage additional spending, along with getting people back into employment. It was part of “an incremental effort”, he added.

The Government promised to introduce a stimulus package to generate employment in the Coalition’s first 100 days in office. The initiative will be “fiscally neutral”, meaning the measures announced will be balanced by either spending cuts or tax increases.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has already announced a job creation scheme which he has invited members of the Irish diaspora to participate in. Prospective employers will receive a finder’s fee of €3,000 for every job resulting from the project that is still in existence two years on.

The jobs initiative is also expected to abolish the travel tax for air passengers. It is also anticipated there will be a reduction in the rate of employers’ PRSI and the introduction of a partial loan-guarantee scheme.

Mr Kenny has also warned the initiative would not immediately solve the State’s unemployment problem but provide an injection into the economy that would stimulate growth, jobs and opportunities.

The Irish Times – Monday, May 9, 2011

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