FG MEP Brian Hayes says we need to 'act fast' on EU fund 'wish-list'
THE development of a new water supply in the capital, the construction of the Dart underground and an upgrade of Dublin Airport have been placed on a Government wish-list, as it prepares to tap into a multi-billion euro EU war chest.
The list of infrastructure projects was drawn up by the Department of Finance ahead of a decision by the EU authorities next month to activate a €315bn investment plan.
The fund, which is overseen by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, proposes to provide loans which cover around 20pc of the cost of projects.
Fine Gael Dublin MEP Brian Hayes has warned the Government to finalise its proposals given the level of competition for the funding among member states.
He said emphasis should be placed on "big-ticket items" such as Metro North and the delivery of a significant number of social housing units in Dublin.
A feature of the plan involves underwriting the riskier elements of the projects in a bid to attract investment from private companies.
The Herald has obtained a copy of the wish-list, which has yet to be given formal Government approval.
Among the ambitious projects that require funding include a new water supply in Dublin which could potentially involve pumping water from Shannon, according to department documents.
They also outline the desire to tap into the fund in order to develop a new sewage plant for the city.
The documents also include the Dart Underground and Metro North, which require significant investment. Funding for a new runway at Dublin Airport is also being sought.
Last night Mr Hayes said it is important that the Government has a "coherent plan" as the EU scheme becomes active in September.
"The government should place emphasis on projects such as Metro North and the delivery of a significant number of social housing units, particularly for Dublin," he told the Herald.
"A list of potential projects has been drawn up by various government departments, but has not got formal government approval. The government needs to act quickly as time is of the essence and project approval will develop rapidly.