EIB, the EU's long term financial institution, is providing funding of up to EUR 130 million for the design, construction and operation of the 39 kms (23 miles) approx. stretch of the N4(M4) road between Kilcock and the N4/N6 junction at Kinnegad.

The scheme will remove a bottleneck from the strategic east-west route, which forms part of the Trans-European Network (TEN) of roads. Bypassing Kinnegad, Clonard, Ballynadrumny, Moyvalley, Enfield and Cloncurry, it will relieve these settlements of heavy traffic and related environmental impacts while improving the flow of domestic and international passenger and freight transport. Other immediate tangible benefits will be savings in travel time, vehicle operating costs and accident costs.

The EIB finance goes to Eurolink Motorway Operation Ltd, a special-purpose company owned by Cintra Concesiones de Infrastructuras de Transporte S.A. (part of the Ferrovial Group, Spain) and Siac Construction Ltd (Ireland). The National Roads Authority, promoter of the project, awarded the 30 year concession following an international call for tenders.

This is the first motorway project to be implemented by Public Private Partnership (PPP) under the National Development Plan 2000-2006. PPPs are designed to bring private sector skills and disciplines to the delivery and management of public sector services with a view to improving efficiency and reducing costs.

EIB Vice-President, Michael G. Tutty, said: "I am very pleased that EIB is involved in financing this third PPP project in Ireland following the two PPPs signed earlier this year in the education sector. EIB gives high priority to PPPs, and I am very happy that our extensive experience in this field throughout the EU - as well as our fine financing terms - can be of benefit to the public finances and to Ireland."

Michael Tobin, Chief Executive of the National Roads Authority, said: "the award of the N4 contract is a significant milestone for the Authority in its ambitious PPP programme. The involvement of the EIB is particularly pleasing and I look forward to their continued involvement in future PPP roads financing in Ireland".

Juan Bejar, Managing Director of the Infrastructure Division of Ferrovial, thanked the NRA and EIB as well as lead arrangers, BBVA and Santander Central Hispano, for their continuous support and team spirit, emphasising the paramount importance of sponsoring this flagship project in the Irish roads PPP programme.

The EIB (European Investment Bank) is owned by the EU Member States. Set up in 1958, its mission is to contribute to the EU's policy objectives by financing sound investment. Though a not-for-profit organisation, it is self-financing, raising its funds by borrowing on capital markets.

EIB's key operational objectives are to finance: regional development and economic and social cohesion of the EU, including integration of Candidate countries; knowledge and R&D intensive industries; environmental protection and improvement; improved international competitiveness of industry; SMEs; trans-European networks in transport, telecom and energy; human capital: education and health. EIB also supports the EU's development and co-operation policies in Partner Countries outside the EU by providing finance under mandate.