Government unveils €200m stimulus package for construction sector

The Government has announced of a package of measures aimed at stimulating activity in the building industry.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the central aim of the strategy was to triple housing output by 2020, and at the same time create 60,000 jobs in the sector.

The stimulus package provides for new building projects worth up €200 million, including a €50 million allocation for regional and local road projects and a further €50 million for social housing provision.

Announcing the measures at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown in Dublin this afternoon, Mr Kenny said the construction sector had a key role to play in the county’s future economic development .

However, he warned the new measures would prevent the mistakes of the past being repeated.

At the peak of the housing bubble in 2006, over 93,000 housing units were completed across the country. The corresponding figure for last year was 8,301 - a reduction of 91 per cent.

“The sector has collapsed too far and we are paying the price in jobs and housing options,” Mr Kenny said.

Earlier in the Dáil, he denied the plan to boost the construction industry will lead Ireland into another housing bubble.

He said the Government’s Constructon 2020 strategy - which includes 75 individual policy measures - would involve top quality and affordable new housing.

Dismissing concerns that a special mortgage scheme for first time buyers could further inflate house prices, Mr Kenny said he did not accept the Government was going down the road of a housing bubble.

“There are 100,000 people on the live register involved in the construction industry: plasterers, block layers, chippies, tilers, roofers and everything else,” he said.

“We want so to see that these people get an opportunity to get back into the world of work.”

Mr Kenny said the plan was not about contractors, bankers, developers or greed but about creating 66,000 jobs in the construction sector up to 2020.

But Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said the plan read like “an extract from the election stunt section of the Fianna Fáil handbook of strokes and other scams”.

“It doesn’t make any sense at all in dealing with the (housing) crisis,” he said.

Mr Adams said fears it could lead to inflated house prices were well-founded.

http://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/government-unveils-200m-stimulus-package-for-construction-sector-1.1794757

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