Cash boost 'to create 13,000 jobs'
Up to 13,000 jobs will be created as a result of a new 2.25 billion euro stimulus package, the Government has claimed.
The investment will go towards "shovel ready" projects in education, transport, justice and health, with building work likely to start as early as the end of this year.
The bulk of the jobs created will be in the construction sector.
But opposition TDs and critics have argued that while economic stimulus is welcome, the Government's prolonged timeframe, which will see some of the work not started until 2016, leaves unemployed people with little to celebrate.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin, who made the announcement, all insisted the investment underlined the Government's commitment to tackling the unemployment crisis.
"Job creation is this Government's top priority," said Mr Howlin. "The stimulus announced today will help to generate significant numbers of jobs in the construction sector."
The Taoiseach insisted spending on the stimulus would add nothing to the country's debt.
One of the biggest projects funded by the package will see the long-awaited build of a new Dublin Institute of Technology campus in Grangegorman, with construction work starting in 2015.
Six new schools will also be built in Cork, Kildare, Louth and Clare by 2018, while work will begin no later than 2014 on new roads in Galway, Kilkenny and Wexford.
Mr Howlin rejected suggestions that the latter - his own constituency - was unfairly chosen to benefit from the boost, insisting projects have been selected based purely on the fact there are existing plans and the work is ready to begin.