Fianna Fail takes radical approach to Irish finances

2 May 02
The announcement of a general election in the Irish Republic has been marked by a radical manifesto proposal from the ruling Fianna Fail party to combine major infrastructural investment with off-balance sheet financing.

03 May 2002

A returned Fianna Fail government would create an arm's-length National Development Finance Agency with responsibility for the financing and contract management of major capital programmes. Funding would be by a mix of bond issues and public-private partnerships.

Immediate priorities of the NDFA would be the building of new health facilities, modernising schools, a roads modernisation programme and public transport projects.

A National Development Plan would be issued by the government's Department of Finance, laying down the projects that the agency would finance.

Spending would be E10bn (£6.3bn) annually, of which the finance agency would raise E2bn (£1.3bn).

Ireland's Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said: 'It is clear that existing ways of delivering major capital programmes are severely limiting… We believe that the time has come for a radical departure.'


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