Belfast Telegraph

Think-tank in £12.5bn growth plan

A new think-tank has proposed a 15 billion euro investment strategy to boost jobs and demand.

And the Nevin Economic Research Institute has claimed that the five-year plan would add no extra cost to Government debt.

Director of the institute Dr Tom Healy insisted the programme would contribute to Ireland's economic recovery yet cost the taxpayer nothing.

"Crucially, the programme of investment over five years will not add one cent to the Government debt or be an additional burden on the taxpayer," said Dr Healy.

"In reality, it could generate resources for the Exchequer through the creation of new jobs and by boosting domestic demand."

Most recent figures have estimated that around 440,000 people are claiming unemployment benefits in Ireland, while an estimated 40,000 are expected to emigrate this year in search of work abroad.

Money for the 15 billion euro programme would be raised through pension funds and the European Investment Bank.

The strategy would see investment targeted at areas seen to be currently lacking in Ireland, such as broadband provision, energy, water infrastructure, retrofitting homes and early childhood learning.

"The funds for the investment programme can be sourced from our own National Pension Reserve Fund, private Irish pension funds - most of whom have their resources invested overseas - and from the European Investment Bank," Dr Healy added.

The all-island think-tank, which focuses on economic policy, is funded by trade unions linked with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. It was officially launched in Dublin, where Dr Healy announced the ambitious investment strategy. The institute is made up of four economists based in Dublin and Belfast.

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