On 29 September 2015 the Irish Government unveiled its €42 billion Capital Plan for infrastructure investment for 2016 to 2021 (the “Plan”). The Plan represents a welcome investment in Ireland’s infrastructure, which will be supplemented by a new phase of public-private partnerships (“PPPs”). We have set out below a speed-read of fast facts on Ireland’s next phase of PPPs.

  1. The total value of the new phase of PPPs is €500 million.
  2. The new phase primarily targets justice, education, healthcare, housing and transport.
  3. In the Justice sector, we will see investment in Garda stations and the development of court facilities, including the Family and Children’s Court, more details of which are promised shortly.
  4. In the Education sector we will see a €200 million PPP investment, which is expected to be directed towards Ireland’s third level education facilities.
  5. The Health sector will see a €150 million PPP investment. This is expected to be invested in Ireland’s primary care centres and the new National Forensic Mental Health Services facility in Portrane, Co. Dublin, replacing the Central Mental Hospital.
  6. There will be PPP investment in Social Housing, which is expected to deliver 1,500 social housing units. We understand that potential sites have been identified and details of the first PPP bundle for procurement of some 500 units will be announced in the near future.
  7. In Transport, PPP investment in roads will continue. Three on-going tenders/projects are referred to, namely the M11 Gorey to Enniscorthy, the N25 New Ross By-Pass and the N17/18 Gort to Tuam. However, no other new roads PPPs are mentioned. The Metro North Project will be resurrected in a modified form. However, it will not form part of the new phase of PPPs and the Plan does not specify the procurement route. The project will have a capital value of approx. €2.4 billion and construction is to commence in 2021.
  8. It is proposed that the PPP procurement functions of the National Development Finance Agency will be transferred to the newly established Transport Infrastructure Ireland. 
  9. State bodies will continue to adhere to the Public Spending Code, published in 2013, requiring project appraisal and evaluation of all projects.
  10. The Government will cap the aggregate level of annual expenditure on payments to PPPs at 10% of the total annual Exchequer capital spending.
  11. Any project valued over €100 million will require specific Governmental approval in advance of entering into contracts. The threshold previously was €250 million.
  12. The Government will publish a PPP Investment Policy Framework to ensure sustainable PPP procurement over the long term.
  13. Each PPP project will be subject to the usual appraisal and value for money considerations before being given the green light to proceed. As such, the Plan is a road map as opposed to a definitive Government commitment. Nonetheless, it reflects the positive trend in the economy generally and the proposed role for PPPs in the development of Ireland’s infrastructure up to 2021.