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Engineers Ireland welcomes focus on green & digital recovery – Economic Recovery Plan 2021

Engineers Ireland, the professional membership body for engineers, has today welcomed the Government’s Economic Recovery Plan 2021 and its focus on a green and digital recovery.

The plan, which contains €3.5bn in spending commitments, aims to help people get back into work, training or education; provides enhanced and more targeted support for sectors affected by the pandemic and invests in infrastructure and reforms that will enhance capability and long-term capacity for growth.

Commenting on some of the actions outlined in today’s Economic Recovery Plan, Caroline Spillane, Director General of Engineers Ireland said:

“Engineers Ireland welcomes the priority placed by Government on investing in a green and digital recovery. As noted in the document, planned public capital investment has a strong jobs multiplier effect. The €915 million in the first tranche of funding under the European Recovery and Resilience Facility builds on the €10.8 billion in capital investment committed under the National Development Plan this year.”

“Additionally,” Ms Spillane added: “The focus on Artificial Intelligence and Industry 4.0 is very welcome. Engineers Ireland will work with Government to implement the Industry 4.0 Strategy and the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy, which will be published shortly.”

Ms Spillane also said that Engineers Ireland had called for many of these measures and initiatives outlined in today’s Economic Recovery Plan 2021 in recent submissions and in the organisation’s ‘State of Ireland 2020’, published in October. The report highlighted the opportunity to make climate action and digitalisation central to economic policy, to reduce the detrimental impact on the environment and improve the quality of lives. The report also called for Ireland’s recovery to be green and digital, driven by investments in infrastructure, technology and education.

Commenting on the €40m transformation fund for technological universities (TU) and €70m for research projects in the areas of climate action and digital infrastructure, Maurice Buckley, President of Engineers Ireland, said:

“Education will be pivotal to our green and digital future. Our engineering graduates will play a central role in creating a sustainable future for Ireland and will be crucial for recovery. We are pleased that the Government recognises that engineering skills will be in strong demand arising from the substantial investment today and forthcoming in the National Development Plan.”

Mr Buckley also said:

“With Government determined to achieve or preferably exceed the target on lifelong learning of 18% by 2025, I also welcome the establishment of the SOLAS Green Skills Action programme, focusing on providing training to address climate and low carbon economy issues, as well as training to help those in construction make buildings more usable in the context of an aging population and for people with disabilities.”

Concluding, Mr Buckley commented:

“The introduction of €85 million in a new grants scheme for businesses to support digitalization, the establishment of European Digital Innovation Hubs in Ireland, the Cork commuter Rail project and the €20 million River Basin Management Plan are also welcome. These initiatives will greatly benefit local economies and our workforce, and create pathways for a more green and digital future.”

Ms Spillane added that Engineers Ireland is committed to channelling the expertise of its professional engineering membership in “finding practical and cost-effective solutions to the significant societal challenges we face.”

“Over the coming months, we look forward to working with the Government to create and deliver engineering solutions as part of the Economic Recovery Plan which will not only benefit society today, but also future generations,” Ms Spillane concluded.

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