Irish Government announces revised capital spending program


Faced with a massive deficit the Irish government has revised its capital spending program for the next 6 years.

While the plan sees overall spending on infrastructure being cut by up to 40% compared to the 2007 National Development Plan (Mr Cowen says the money just is not available), it should sill provide stimulus to the economy and is less severe a cut than some commentators had predicted.

Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, said the Government’s revised €39bn capital investment programme will lead to 270,000 jobs being provided between now and 2016.

Announcing the plan yesterday, the Taoiseach confirmed that Dublin will get the Lion’s share of the activity with Metro North, the €2.5bn Dart Underground  and the relocation of the Dublin Institute of Technology to a new campus going ahead.  Rail links to Navan and the western rail corridor from Tuam to Claremorris have been shelved.

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Máire Geoghegan-Quinn named Ireland’s new EU commissioner


Former Galway TD, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn has been named as the Irish Government’s nominee for appointment to the next European Commission.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen said ‘Ms. Geoghegan-Quinn “has been an exemplary Member of the European Court of Auditors for the past nine years and, prior to that, held a number of key Ministerial positions in the Irish Government.”

The announcement ends months of speculation on how Mr Cowen would avoid weakening his Dáil majority while still appointing a high calibre candidate to the EU post.

Irish Government rejects Ryanair bid for Aer Lingus


The Irish Government has decided not to sell its 25%  stake in Aer Lingus to Ryanair at the offer price of €1.40 per share,  Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey announced this afternoon.

The Minister said the decision was taken on the basis that the offer greatly undervalues the former national airline  and that the proposed mergerwould be likely to have a significant negative impact on competition in the aviation market.

Meanwhile, Ryanair has ruled out any significant upward adjustment in its €1.40 a share offer for Aer Lingus which is approaching its January 30th deadline.

Ryanair said it will only raise its €748 million cash offer if a substantial number of Aer Lingus owners say they would be willing to accept a higher offer.