• Increase of €1 billion since October 2016
• Overall increase of 16.5% on 2019
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross T.D., and Minister of State, Brendan Griffin T.D. have today welcomed the overall allocation of €2.7 billion next year for the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.
Speaking at today’s press conference, Minister Ross stated: “This year’s budget posed a significant challenge in safeguarding our economy against the effects of a no-deal Brexit. Under these trying circumstances I am very pleased to be in a position to announce a 16.5% increase in the overall budget allocation to my department. This allocation will provide the necessary resources to continue stable investment in our transport system, continue to develop our sport sector, and support our tourism sector particularly with regard to mitigating the potential impacts of a hard Brexit.
Over recent years the Government has worked hard to ensure that conditions and policies are in place to tackle climate change and support citizens in making more sustainable transport choices. In 2020, investment in the public transport system will now exceed €1 billion for the first time. This will support a wide range of transport projects, including progressing major infrastructure investments as part of BusConnects and Metrolink, continuing to improve our rail services nationwide, and supporting the phased transition of our transport fleet to more environmentally friendly fuel types.
I also welcome the commitment made by Minister Donohoe to ring fence funds raised by the carbon tax to support our Climate Action Plan. This commitment will bring an additional €10.5 million for investment in greenways, urban cycling infrastructure and increased investment in recharging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
Throughout 2020, we will continue to invest in enhancing regional accessibility, investing over €1 billion in the maintenance of national and regional and local roads, as well as commencing the construction of a number of new road schemes. This investment is essential to delivering local services and supporting economic growth in rural and regional areas.
In total, €38 million will be provided to the Aviation Sector. Of this, €22 million will go towards the Regional Airports Programme, including the provision of €5 million towards the planned extension of Waterford Regional Airport’s runway.
€103 million of funding will be invested in maritime safety. This will ensure that the Irish Coast Guard can operate safely and effectively. Key priorities here will be to increase investment in safety-related training, equipment and systems.
Budget 2020 represents a significant step forward in terms of the ability of the transport sector to deliver upon our ambition. Overall the money we have secured will allow the transport, tourism and sport sectors connect more people with more places, linking and strengthening communities across the country.”
Minister of State Griffin commented: “In terms of Tourism, I am pleased to announce that we have increased the total allocation by 10% to €186 million in 2020. This investment will enable Fáilte Ireland increase its support of the development and sustainability of Irish tourism, in particular through enterprise supports, capital investment, growing event and business tourism and continued enhancement of the experience brands. We will continue to invest in Tourism Ireland’s overseas marketing drive, focusing on increasing revenue from overseas tourists to €6.5 billion by 2025.
There is no doubt that this year’s budget was overshadowed by the potential risk of a no-deal Brexit, and it is clear that these risks have already been imminently felt by our Tourism sector. A €7 million supplementary fund has been made available to Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland to be spent immediately on mitigating the effects of Brexit.
We also have an additional contingency in the event of a no-deal Brexit of €40 million to support overseas marketing and allow both Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland better respond to Brexit related challenges. This contingency funding will act to intensify efforts to attract visitors from other key markets such as Europe and North America, as well as key emerging markets. Specific emphasis will also be placed on the regions which will suffer the most from a no-deal Brexit, such as the border counties.
Turning to Sport, €125 million will be invested in this sector over the course of 2020. This will go towards our hugely successful Grants for Sporting Bodies Scheme, the Large Scale Sports Infrastructure Scheme as well as the funding of Sport Ireland and the Sports Campus.
We have secured funding to support qualifying teams for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the hosting of matches for the 2020 European Soccer Championships next June, as well as commencing the necessary preparations for hosting the Ryder Cup 2026.
Overall, budget 2020 delivers for our tourism and sports sectors and I am confident that this Budget will benefit citizens and communities across the country”