Belfast Telegraph

Ireland close to Europe bank funds

Ireland is on the brink of receiving funds for a major stimulus package from the bank funded by the European Union following a meeting with Government ministers.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin met senior officials of the European Investment Bank (EIB) to secure money for infrastructure projects and job creation.

The two ministers said things were "coming together" following the talks in Brussels, which could see an as yet unconfirmed sum of money earmarked specifically for growth in Ireland.

"I think it is well known that one of the very strong policy additions in a number of European countries is that the European Investment Bank would have additional capital provided to it," said Mr Noonan.

"You know I think it is generally felt that that will happen even though it hasn't been fully nailed down yet."

The Finance Minister said they would tap other sources for funding and as such, had additional projects in mind for potential investment.

Areas that could benefit from the EIB funding boost include the Government's micro-finance fund, which aims to support Irish bank lending to small and medium-sized enterprises.

Public Expenditure Minister Howlin said health and primary car centres, and schools could also avail of the stimulus funds.

"I think what we are looking at is issues that are required to feed into economic growth, that would be shovel ready, that would have an immediate impact in terms of employment," said Mr Howlin.

"Some of the very major projects that we have put back I think will have a longer term perspective. But the details of that we will very shortly be in a position to announce."

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