Fine Gael’s “transformational” NewERA plan simply restates many Government measures, according to the Minister for Labour Affairs Dara Calleary.
“It seems that Fine Gael have borrowed a number of Government ideas in drawing up their new plan for the economy,” Minister Calleary said. “We are all increasingly aware of the importance of recycling but this is taking things too far.
“In announcing that they want to transform the economy through investment in green energy and broadband, Fine Gael is simply echoing Government policy,” he added. “The importance of green energy has been central to the Government’s economic framework since December 2008 when it drew up its Smart Economy strategy.
“The €100m National Insulation Programme will, for example, assist and support the creation of 7,000 jobs. This scheme has been extremely successful. Over 30,000 households have applied for grants worth almost €40 million towards assessments and remedial work on their homes, including attic insulation,” Minister Calleary outlined.
“The Government also recently announced that it aims to create 30,000 jobs by positioning Ireland at the forefront of the digital and clean technology revolution. Furthermore, the Government is firmly committed to making Ireland a broadband nation. It has undertaken a number of initiatives to address the provision of broadband throughout the country. These initiatives include the national broadband scheme, the metropolitan area networks programme, the broadband for schools programme and the now concluded group broadband scheme.”
According to Minister Calleary the Government has invested €80 million to date in the national broadband scheme, ensuring 65 per cent of houses across the country are now connected to broadband.
“In June the Government announced a €16 million investment scheme which will see up to 80 post primary schools receive high-speed broadband,” Minister Calleary concluded.