EIB agrees to €500m for Metro North
22 March 2010 13:29
by David Elkin
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed in principle to make a contribution of up to € 500 million to the Dublin Metro project. The planned Metro would provide a 19 km link from Dublin city centre, via Dublin airport, to Fingal and is seen by the Bank as a key infrastructure project for Ireland.
Speaking in Dublin today, the Vice-president of the European Investment Bank, Mr Plutarchos Sakellaris, also said that the Bank is currently examining two other public-private partnership projects in Ireland which would form part of a second western transport corridor between Cork, Limerick and Galway.
These are the N17-N18 Gort to Tuam motorway link and the N11-N7 Motorway. These are two projects highlighted in the EUR 2 billion Irish National Roads Authority second roads PPP programme. At the moment, the Bank is still completing the technical and feasibility appraisals of these projects. If conditions are met, agreements could be signed in the next year.
In 2009 the EIB made EUR 260 million available to Irish SMEs through credit lines with Allied Irish, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank. Mr Sakellaris confirmed that two-thirds of this had already been disbursed to Irish SMEs. He described this as a satisfactory level of uptake and confirmed that further funding for Irish SMEs would be considered.
The funding to Irish banks for SMEs across the country was specifically for new investments and not working capital and is designed to ensure that investment in small business continues, even in a difficult economic situation, he said.
Recent EIB energy funding has reinforced renewable energy, energy efficiency and security of supply projects. This included EUR 300m for the EIRGRID East-West Interconnector and EUR 200m for wind farms under ESB’s Renewables Programme. EUR 300m was provided to Dublin Airport for the new terminal.
The EIB Delegation met with Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, Patrick Honohan, Transport Minister Noel Dempsey, the Financial Services Regulatory authority and other officials and business leaders to see how the EIB can best support Ireland and ensure continued investment in key infrastructure during challenging times.