State yet to use €335m Aer Lingus windfall on promised 'Connectivity Fund'

A year after receiving the cash from the sale of its stake in the airline...

Not one cent of the €335 million windfall the State received from selling its Aer Lingus stake has been allocated from a promised 'Connectivity Fund', the Irish Independent reports.

It is a year this month since the State received the sum after IAG purchased its 25.1% stake in the airline and there has been no movement on projects aimed at improving transport and digital/fibre optic-based infrastructure in the country.

In May 2014, then-Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe confirmed that the €335m would be earmarked for a special connectivity fund that would be administered by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).

This expenditure on a range of projects from energy development to port upgrades would not be counted as government spending.

The ISIF has insisted, however, that there is now a pipeline of potential projects that could receive funding.

An spokesman for the fund told the Irish Independent that it has an "active pipeline of opportunities" which may qualify from investment:

"These investment opportunities fall under two broad asset types, each of which will benefit Ireland as an island nation. Some are transport-based assets which will enhance the physical connectivity of Ireland.

"The pipeline also includes digital and fibre optic-based assets which will enhance the virtual connectivity of Ireland supporting, in particular, technology-based foreign direct investment."

He noted that "by their nature" developing and financing these projects takes time and that "any announcement will be made in due course."