Dáil debates

Wednesday, 15 May 2024

Future Ireland Fund and Infrastructure, Climate and Nature Fund Bill 2024: Report and Final Stages


3:40 pm

Photo of Michael McGrathMichael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I thank Deputy Doherty for his contribution. We will discuss the issue of housing in more detail in the next group of amendments.

It is fair to point out the role of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, which is focused on investment in the Irish economy across the four key investment themes of climate, housing and enabling investments, scaling indigenous businesses, and food and agriculture. Earlier this week, we had further evidence of the good work being done by ISIF in terms of the announcement it made about new investments in the indigenous economy.

I am very anxious that we allow the NTMA to do what I know it is capable of doing, namely, to earn the best possible return for the State to meet costs that we know are definitely coming our way. On Committee Stage, I put one figure on the record from the recent ageing report about the growth in our population with which everybody is familiar. Between 2014 and 2023, the population of Ireland grew by 14%. The largest change was seen in the over-65 age group, which increased by 37% over the same period. That figure gives us an indication of what is going to happen over the years ahead. We have to plan for the future.

I am fully in agreement that we have to invest today in the infrastructure we need. We have taken some of the windfall corporate tax receipts and added them to our national development plan, but we also have to provide for needs we know are going to come over the years ahead. That is an important contribution to make. The NTMA will use its best judgment in line with the investment strategy. That may involve investment in the State, but it will also involve investment outside the State. The evidence of sovereign wealth funds internationally is that the more we tie their hands and restrict their ability to invest on a global basis, the greater the negative impact on the return they get for their respective countries. I want to give the NTMA the flexibility to make that decision and get the best possible return.

5 o’clock

This has to be seen alongside everything else the Government is doing in terms of investment.


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