The Government says that yesterday’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.
There isn’t much for the wider Irish auto trade in what the Transport Minister announced in the detail of the new stimulus.
Giving 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 by saying: “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.
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.
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.”