Tue, 15 Oct 2019

Varadkar visits Luxembourg to shore up EIB support

Conor Trindle
21 Jun 2019, 18:57 GMT+10

BRUSSELS, Belgium - An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was visiting the European Investment Bank headquarters in Luxembourg Friday to discuss the EIB's support for priority investment in Ireland.

While on site Varadkar was also expected to welcome the largest ever EIB backing from transport investment in Ireland, and meet staff from the EIB and EU institutions working with Ireland.

The borrowing, totalling EUR 350 million is to transform Dublin Airport.

"I am very glad to be travelling to Luxembourg for the signing of this loan agreement between the EIB and daa. It's the largest EIB loan ever for the transport sector in Ireland. As an island nation, Ireland depends on aviation for international connectivity. Without it, we'd be poor and isolated. This investment will improve the airport experience for passengers by reducing delays, improving security and providing for some climate-related mitigation by electrifying the airport vehicle fleet. I will also use the opportunity of the visit to speak to the EIB about future loan opportunities for housing projects and the National Broadband Plan," the taoiseach said Friday.

"We are honoured to welcome the Irish Taoiseach to our headquarters in Luxembourg for the first ever visit by an Irish head of government to the EU Bank. This record level of support to a transport project in Ireland will strengthen Ireland's connections to Europe and the rest of the world. This visit presents an excellent opportunity to discuss how the EIB can further enhance the impact of its operations in the country. And it is an occasion to discuss how the EIB will step up its climate finance, in response to the request of the European Council," Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank said Friday.

The European Investment Bank is the world's largest international public bank, owned by the 28 EU member states. The EIB has supported long-term investment across Ireland since 1973 and over the last decade has provided more than EUR 7 billion for education, transport, health, social housing, energy, agriculture and business investment.

"The benefits of the European Investment Bank's unique financial strength and technical expertise can be seen in projects such as Friday's agreement of a record EUR 350 million loan to transform Dublin Airport that will greatly facilitate European and global travel in the future and reduce the negative impact of Brexit. In recent years, the EIB has enabled world-class education, social housing, transport and energy projects to be financed. The ever-closer cooperation between Irish government, public and private sector partners and the EIB is helping to better tackle future investment challenges concerning climate, Brexit and innovation," Andrew McDowell, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for lending operations in Ireland, said Frioday..

During the EIB visit, An Taoiseach was expected to sign the agreement for the EUR 350 million 20 year loan to Dublin Airport.

Dublin Airport Chief Executive Dalton Philips said the EIB loan would help fund an existing investment programme aimed at upgrading airfield and passenger areas.

"Dublin Airport has been working with the EIB since the 1980s and we are delighted to have signed this latest loan agreement with the bank," he said.

The long-term financing will be used to improve operations at peak times and covers a wide range of projects including an upgrade to the baggage screening systems, additional self-service check-in kiosks, an upgrade for the two existing runways and the conversion of the airport's vehicle fleet to be entirely electric.

The new loan represents the largest ever EIB support for transport investment in the country and follows recent EIB backing for construction of the LUAS in Dublin, the world's largest ferry to be operated by Irish Ferries, port expansion in Dublin and Cork, new national road links and Dublin Airport Terminal 2.

Varadkar was scheduled to meet EIB President Werner Hoyer, Vice President Andrew McDowell and financial and technical experts to discuss recent engagement in Ireland.

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