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West=On=Track -News

Where your nest egg could end up in the current climate

Sunday Independent, Feb 7th 2010 

Louise McBride

THERE are plenty of projects which could do with a dig-out from Irish pension funds:

New runways

THE Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), whose board includes The Apprentice host Bill Cullen and former Greencore boss David Dilger, recently deferred plans for its new runway, known as the Northern runway, "in light of the current economic climate".

Dublin Airport City

THE euro4bn Dublin Airport City, which is also to be developed by the DAA, has been delayed by funding difficulties. The plan, which includes 40,000sqm of retail, hotel and conference facilities, was unveiled two years ago. The first phase of the plan was expected in 2012/2013.

Western Rail Corridor

THE long-awaited Western Rail Corridor will link Limerick and Galway, as well as having an onward connection to Claremorris, Co Mayo.

However, while the first phase of this project was expected to be completed by the end of last year, the line has not yet opened.

"The January 2010 date was delayed because of flooding, which also impacted on driver training," said a spokesman for Irish Rail. "We'll be opening in March. A precise date will be confirmed shortly."

Lansdowne Road

UNDER the National Development Plan (NDP), money was set aside to fund the redevelopment of Lansdowne Road. The new stadium, which is due to open later this year, could be a tempting investment for Irish pension funds.

National parks

ABOUT euro167m of capital expenditure was earmarked for national parks under the NDP. These national parks, which include Glenveagh in Donegal (home to the golden eagle chicks) and Killarney in Kerry, are unlikely to turn their noses up at any money from pension funds.

Metro North OR Luas

WITH billions of euro slashed from the Government's capital-spending budgets over the next few years, many of the ambitious projects planned under the NDP could also be stalled. These could include Metro North, the Luas extension to Lucan and the plans to connect the two existing Luas lines.

Such projects could prove to be lucrative investments -- the building firm that won the euro150m contract to extend the Luas saw its profits increase by 30 per cent in 2008.

The private operator of the Luas, Veolia Transport Dublin Light Rail Ltd, also saw profits increase in 2008.

Gardai, water, waste

MONEY from Irish pension funds could also be poured into the secondary roads planned under the NDP, public health facilities, new garda stations, affordable housing, public and rural transport, regional airports and harbours, waste treatment plants, broadband networks, schools, and carbon-energy systems.

Jim Power of Friends First believes the proceeds of infrastructure bonds could be used to upgrade Ireland's water network. "Investors would be interested in water because it will be a scarce commodity in the long term -- and you could get an income through charges," said Mr Power.








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