Schools and new DIT site top priorities in government’s stimulus package

Included in the new Public-Private Partnership Programme, labour intensive capital projects will be delivered in the areas of schools, transport and primary care centres. The Minister of State for Public Service Reform and the Office of Public Works said the investments would be “focused on the essential over the desirable. There are no trophy projects or complex engineering schemes.”
Investment in schools to provide for 5,700 school places across the country is central to the project. Bringing together over 22,000 DIT students from 39 sites is another top priority which is expected to have knock-on effects by contributing to the regeneration of the surrounding inner city quarter, and will provide a business support programme targeting small local businesses.
Of the 13,000 jobs expected to be generated by the stimulus package, Minister Hayes spoke about the need of a social clause to ensure “as many of these jobs as possible are new jobs with people being taken off the live register. I am looking at how we can do this in line with procurement rules and I aim to have this in place before the first tenders’ issue.” The aim of the seminar in Dublin’s National Convention Centre today was to provide interested parties with the certainty that a coherent package of projects will be rolled over the coming years.
Concerns from contractors were also addressed including, introducing a scheme to reimburse bid costs for shortlisted tenders, reducing the procurement process time frame by six months, organising planning permission in advance of tender awards, and addressing difficulties faced by contractors obtaining bonds at the levels sought in some public works tenders. Details of these initiatives will be announced shortly. Although Hayes acknowledged the challenge of sourcing and accessing funding in difficult economic circumstances, he said he was “confidence” they would deliver these projects.
Source: The Journal

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