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Our Government and Infrastructure team has taken a look at the proposed capital spending proposals of each party  which are likely to be central to any negotiations on a programme for government following the election.

The current government established Project Ireland 2040 and within this is the National Development Plan 2018-2027, a 10 year plan for €116 billion of capital investment across all sectors. What is clear from the manifestos proposed is that there is broad agreement for the need for capital investment and in most cases parties are proposing further capital spending.

We have summarised below the capital spending plans signalled by five of the political parties in their election manifestos. 

Healthcare

Fianna Fáil

  • Add a further €50m in addition to pre-committed infrastructure levels.
  • Complete the National Children’s Hospital.
  • Support the relocation of the Dublin maternity hospitals.
  • Commence the construction of four new elective hospitals.
  • Provide a minor capital programme for equipment provision and replacement.
  • Tackle overcrowding in Emergency Departments by spending €310m pre-committed levels.
  • Strengthen the ambulance network.

Fine Gael

  • Provide 2,600 extra hospital beds and 4,500 community beds.
  • Provide 80 additional Primary Care Centres and community diagnostic facilities.
  • Develop three elective hospitals in Dublin, Cork and Galway.
  • Increase investment in healthcare infrastructure and equipment to €10 billion in (Project Ireland 2040).
  • Between now and 2021, spend more than €2 billion on 250 projects across the country, providing 480 new beds, 58 community nursing units, and new investment in mental health and disability projects in the community.

Sinn Féin

  • Total additional capital spending measures of €1,579m in the Health Sector.
  • Invest an extra €1 billion of capital spending to increase the number of hospital beds by 1,500 over first term of Government and then invest further bring up to 2,500 in subsequent term.
  • Increase nursing home beds by 1,250.

Labour

  • Implement an investment plan to deliver more hospital beds, and the staff required.
  • Redirect funding to local primary care centres.
  • Increase funding for home help and respite care.

Housing

Fianna Fáil

  • Build 200,000 new homes including 50,000 new build social housing units by 2025 and 50,000 new affordable units by 2025.
  • Introduce a new model of State Supported ‘Affordable Rental Housing’ for middle income households and a further €50m investment to build over 1,000 affordable rental units per annum.
  • End homelessness – at a cost of €84.5m in additional spending combined with €570m extra in spending on building homes.

Fine Gael

  • Build 25,000 new homes in 2020. Deliver 12,000 new social homes from next year onwards.
  • Between now and 2025, directly provide more than 10,000 newly built homes at affordable prices, on both public and private lands.

Sinn Féin

  • Total additional capital spending measures of €6,500m in the Housing, Planning and Local Government Sector.
  • Build 100,000 homes over 5 years. This will include council housing and affordable homes for renters and first time buyers

Green Party

  • Replace Rebuilding Ireland with a National Housing Plan to build public housing on public land, directly procured by local authorities.
  • Implement a cost-rental model for the delivery of public housing that creates affordability for tenants and a sustainable model for the construction and management of homes.
  • Access EIB financing to provide core capital funding to back a State guarantee for finance raised for the deep retrofitting of private residential buildings.
  • Empower local authorities to access finance with more flexibility to facilitate the construction of social housing.

Labour

  • Direct state agencies to build 80,000 social homes and affordable homes on public land over the next five years.
  • Fund the building of 80,000 homes in five years through a €16 billion fund.

Defence

Fianna Fáil

  • Invest in CCTV, Garda IT and vehicles.
  • Defence Forces accommodation - implement the recently announced infrastructure plan.

Fine Gael

  • Upgrade and improve the Defence Forces’ facilities through the five year Built Infrastructure Plan Programme, investing €145m (Project Ireland 2040).

Sinn Féin

  • Total additional capital spending measures of €15m in Defence.
  • Introduce a capital investment programme for upgrading of current barracks infrastructure prioritising living quarters.

Green Party

  • Advocate for a complete review of infrastructure, equipment, institutional land holdings, and building quality in the Defence Forces.

Labour

  • Roll out a programme to improve and upgrade barracks throughout the country.

Education

Fianna Fáil

  • Invest in School infrastructure.
  • Invest in better Sports Facilities for Schools.
  • Reduce the average primary school class size to 20:1 by 2025. at a cost of €86.4m.

Fine Gael

  • 70% increase in schools’ capital funding, compared to the past decade(Project Ireland 2040).
  • Upgrade school labs, modernise PE facilities in schools.
  • Commence deep energy retrofitting of schools built prior to 2008.
  • Invest €420 million in digital facilities in schools over the next decade.

Sinn Féin

  • Total additional capital spending measures of €225m in the Education and Skills Sector.
  • Reduce the student/teacher ratio to 20:1 at primary level.

Green Party

  • Invest in safe cycle and walking routes to school, school transport infrastructure and free public transport for students.
  • Reduce pupil-teacher ratios.

Labour

  • Reduce primary class sizes to the EU average by 2025 on a cost-neutral basis.

Climate Action

Fianna Fáil

  • Establish a National Infrastructure Commission for 30-year decarbonisation planning.
  • Ensure implementation of the Climate Action plan and investment in flooding infrastructure.
  • Establish a new €10m Local Environmental Innovation Fund. 
  • Ensure warmer, more energy efficient homes with a new Green Homes Agency. It will be financed with an initial government funding of €200m and use this to leverage additional finance outside of budgetary resources similar to the SCBI Brexit Loan scheme.

Fine Gael

  • Move to 70% renewable electricity by 2030.
  • Frontload investment in EV charging infrastructure.
  • Increase by ten times the current level of retrofitting activity.
  • Increase the number of sustainable energy communities five-fold.
  • Ensure 500,000 more commutes to work and education are taken by public transport, cycling and walking.
  • By 2040, plant an additional 440 million trees, equating to 8,000 hectares of new forestry every year.
  • Ring-fencing €6 billion of carbon tax revenue for climate action, Just Transition and reducing energy poverty.
  • Invest €21.8 billion through Project Ireland 2040, including a €500 million Climate Action Fund, funded by an oil industry levy.
  • €80 million for a bog restoration programme in the Midlands, funded through the repurposed PSO levy.
  • €1 billion to be spent on capital works programmes to minimise the impacts of river and coastal flooding on society. (Project Ireland 2040)

Sinn Féin

  • Total additional capital spending measures of €30m in the Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Sector.
  • Undertake massive public investment in state-owned electric vehicle charging points.
  • Develop better fully integrated public transport system and transition to electric vehicles.

Green Party

  • Undertake a major programme of peatland restoration and rewetting.
  • Upgrade infrastructure to enable it to take on higher levels of rainfall.
  • Access EIB financing to provide core capital funding to back a State guarantee for finance raised for the deep retrofitting of private residential buildings.
  • Develop a new ‘power to gas’ infrastructure converting renewable electricity to hydrogen as a means of developing new energy storage and a transport fuel alternative.
  • Invest in the development of smart grids to integrate distributed renewable energy and access the potential of demand-side management.
  • Redevelop energy infrastructure to combine large-scale renewable installations, especially offshore wind, with a ‘distributed energy grid’.
  • Develop district heating solutions which use waste heat from industrial activities in the heating of our homes and businesses.

Labour

  • Provide funding for local government to deliver an ambitious home insulation scheme, building up capacity to reach the target of 100,000 homes per year.
  • Invest in public transport and cycling infrastructure.
  • Target electric vehicle grants to those who need them.
  • Facilitate the development of renewable electricity, especially off-shore wind generation.
  • Roll out a scheme to provide all schools and colleges with solar panels.

Transport

Fianna Fáil

  • Build the M20.
  • Start DART Underground.
  • Expedite congestion alleviation measures on the M50.
  • Invest €50m into N40 & M11 Traffic Management measures.
  • Build the A5.
  • Expand the role of the C&AG on infrastructure spending oversight.
  • Establish a new National Infrastructure Commission and rigorously implement the National Development Plan.
  • Explore the feasibility of Metro South West.
  • Increase Roads maintenance by €147m.
  • Invest in the public transport system. Increase the PSO by €30m.
  • Prioritise rail electrification.
  • Ensure wider access to cycling infrastructure.

Fine Gael

  • Invest more in public transport.
  • Ensure that the road network continues to be maintained to high standards and that safety improvements are funded.
  • Fund and extensive road-building programme.
  • Ensure there is a strong programme of investment in new roads to improve regional connectivity (e.g., bypasses of congested towns). (Project Ireland 2040).
  • Provide more cycling facilities and electric vehicle charging points.
  • Project Ireland 2040 has linked infrastructure investment with spatial planning for the first time. 
  • Work with the NTA to conclude a new Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy for 2021 to 2036.
  • Extend the NTA’s statutory remit. 
  • Task the NTA to produce a Park and Ride Implementation Plan for each of the five cities.
  • Ensure that the Cork Metropolitan Area Draft Transport Strategy 2040 is fully funded in the National Development Plan.
  • Improve the rail line between Dublin, Cork and Belfast, and complete an economic evaluation of a high-speed link between Dublin-Belfast, Dublin-Limerick Junction and Dublin-Cork.

Sinn Féin

  • Total additional capital spending measures of €1,393m in the Transport, Tourism and Sport Sector.
  • Roll out Access Ireland Transport – a Sinn Féin major infrastructure programme.
  • Increase investment in public transport to provide climate-friendly alternatives for commuters, expand routes, improve services, make fares more affordable.
  • Invest an additional €300 million in local and regional roads.
  • Double funding for the Rural Transport Programme/Local Link.
  • Invest in rail infrastructure to improve the safety, speed, and frequency of rail services.
  • Re-establish a rail connection from Derry/ Donegal to Sligo and to Dublin
  • Complete the Western Rail Corridor.
  • Improve rail access for Navan and Meath.
  • Fund the Cork Metropolitan Areas Transport strategy including a Light Rail line.
  • Progress the extension of the Luas to Bray, Finglas, Lucan and Poolbeg, the DART underground, and completing the Dublin Metro by 2027. 
  • Provide funding for the Limerick Transport Strategy including a light rail line if recommended.
  • Treble funding for Local Improvement Schemes.
  • Invest in the completion of the motorway network including the Cork to Limerick motorway and A5 from Dublin to Derry/Donegal.
  • Accelerate the roll-out of public EV charging infrastructure by investing €50 million.
  • Invest in cycling infrastructure including the metropolitan cycle network.
  • Encourage investment in regional airports.
  • Prioritising road and rail connections.

Green Party

  • Secure 10% of the capital transport budget for walking, 10% for cycling and split the remainder 2:1 in favour of public transport over road building and maintenance.
  • Maximise connectivity between and within different modes of transport by setting up more Park and Ride facilities and Bike and Ride facilities on routes into cities.
  • Progress the full electrification of the rail network and upgrading/expanding the northern commuter line from the existing end of the DART network in Malahide past Drogheda, expanding the line from Heuston past Hazelhatch and completion of this line between Inchicore and Park West and enhancing the line from Connolly past Maynooth.
  • Prioritise the completion of the Kildare Route Project Phase 2 and the Navan Railway Line (extension from M3 Parkway station to Navan).
  • Reconsider the case for advancing the planning for the Interconnector (DART Underground).
  • Commence construction of Metro North and initiate an immediate review of the three options for extending the Metro further South from there.
  • Progress the appraisal, planning and design of the Luas to Bray, Lucan, Poolbeg, and Blanchardstown via Finglas, with park and ride facilities at the M50.
  • Support the development of a light rail system for Cork and Galway cities and devise new urban rail plans for Limerick and Waterford cities.
  • Review derelict train lines throughout the country with a view to revitalising and reopening some of the routeways as a regional infrastructural resource where appropriate.
  • Restore and expand rail freight capacity to promote it over truck haulage and aviation.
  • Require that all new public buildings include EV charging points and overseeing a national rollout of charging stations at every operational petrol station.

Labour

  • Invest in public transport and cycling infrastructure.
  • Target electric vehicle grants to those who need them, especially in rural Ireland.
  • Reverse the privatisation of public transport.
  • Prioritise infrastructure projects needed for the economic development of cities and large towns outside of Dublin, such as the North Ring Road in Cork, raising Rosslare Europort to Tier 1 status and the Metro to Dublin Airport/ Swords/Fingal.

Water

Fianna Fáil

  • Increase funding for rural water supplies. Earmark an additional €2m per annum to the Clár scheme to fund the expansion of group water schemes into isolated areas.
  • Protect funding to group water schemes.

Fine Gael

  • Fund the necessary upgrades of the country’s water network and ensure that the Project Ireland 2040 commitment of €8.5 billion is delivered.

Sinn Féin

  • Transform the delivery of water services through the creation of a fully public non-commercial semi-state water utility

Green Party

  • Invest in water infrastructure to optimise the supply of drinking water and protect the waterways. 
  • An upgrade of lead pipes and the fixing of leaks will be one of the GP's top priorities.

ROI-NI relations

Fianna Fáil

  • Deepen Planning & Infrastructure links between ROI and NI by providing funding for the development of the A5, working with N.I, UK and EU authorities to source funding to build the Narrow Water Bridge and using the Border Economic Development Zone to jointly plan infrastructure.
  • Ensure there is All island basis in the National Planning Framework.
  • Secure long-term EU-UK agreement on PEACE and INTERREG programme funding

Fine Gael

  • Cross-border collaboration on public services and key infrastructure.
  • Look to quickly progress key infrastructure projects such as the A5, the Narrow Water Bridge and the Ulster Canal connection from Clones to Upper Lough Erne.
  • Examine the feasibility of a high-speed rail connection between Belfast, Dublin, Limerick Junction and Cork, creating a spine of connectivity on the island.
  • Support opening up new air routes between north and south.

Sinn Féin

  • Prioritise the delivery of the A5 Upgrade, the Ulster Canal Project and Narrow Water.
  • Prioritise development of an hourly Belfast-Dublin train. 
  • Roll out Access Ireland Transport – a Sinn Féin major infrastructure programme.

What do the parties have in common and where do they differ?

Not surprisingly, each party is proposing additional capital spending on top of current plans set out in Project Ireland 2040 and the Climate Action Plan. Some have costed these proposals while others have remained silent. Given the early stage of such plans, they are difficult to cost anyway.

A majority of Fine Gael policies are building on what have been set out on Project Ireland 2040 with a focus on implementation and some additional funding. Fianna Fáil have set out some interesting proposals including the introduction of a National Infrastructure Commission to focus on infrastructure delivery and Climate Action.

There is a big focus on health and housing with all parties either supporting or building on the Sláinte Care proposals and various targets for social, affordable and general housing stock. Climate Action and Transport policies have a strong focus on capital spending, in particular Public Transport and energy efficiency upgrades.

Fianna Fáil, Sinn Fein and the Greens all support the DART Underground project, something that is not currently costed in the National Development Plan. The Green Party, Sinn Fein and Labour have all set out a higher level of capital spend, assuming they are additional to existing plans.

Regardless of political party, there is a strong focus on more spending and a very positive note for the future sustainability of our economy. We look forward to further actions on delivery.

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