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Taoiseach says NDP 'delivery is key' as Eamon Ryan says all road projects mightn't be completed

This plan is expected to commit €35 billion in spending on transport up to 2030.

An Taoiseach in UCC where the Cabinet meeting is taking place.
An Taoiseach in UCC where the Cabinet meeting is taking place.
Image: Twitter/Christina Finn

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN has said that “delivery is key” to the revised National Development Plan (NDP) which will be launched this afternoon. 

The NDP is being launched following a Cabinet meeting in Cork and will outline spending plans of more than €165 billion for capital projects.

This plan is expected to commit €35 billion in spending on transport up to 2030.

Speaking on his way into Cabinet, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that the plan must be delivered upon. 

“I think delivery is going to be key in relation to this and that’s something that we’re very focused on in terms of getting projects delivered on time and within budget and going through due process,” he said. 

Obviously that involves building up capacity in the construction industry through additional skills requirements and upskilling people in relation to construction but also making sure that we’re saying to young people that there is a career in construction and there’s going to be huge investment over the next 10 years.

Martin described today as “a significant day for the country”: “It reflects a very substantial investment over the next 10 years in infrastructure and public transport, and indeed in roads, research, education, health and above all housing, which is one of the biggest issues facing our country and facing our people. So what essentially it does is it lays out a roadmap for the next few years.” 

In the Programme for Government agreed between the Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green coalition, the three parties agreed to spending on public transport being double that spent on new roads. 

Also speaking on his way into Cabinet, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said his party was “100% behind” the NDP which is due to be signed off on at the Cabinet meeting. 

“We’re committing €360 million a year for active travel, that’s transformative. If anything the NGP takes what was in the Programme for Governments as a five year commitment and says that’s the next decade and actually the decade after that. So it’s a real, real opportunity for change for the better in our country. It’s green through and through,” he said. 

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Ryan also said that he couldn’t definitively guarantee that every road project listed in the NDP would be completed. 

I don’t expect they will because to be honest, there’s so many road projects already committed to that if we spent on all of them we wouldn’t have money for anything else. I’m not ruling them out, we’re not saying definitely no. TII have to look at the strategic directions they have been given which include regional development, compact development and low carbon development.

Also speaking about the plans for the road infrastructure, Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath said there is “healthy competition” between projects in the NDP.

The road projects that are provided for in the NDP are being committed to by government, they’re not all ready for construction by any means, there are different stages of the project lifecycle that where you have 10 or 11 different stages. So the commitment here is to advance them through that process. And what I want to see is healthy competition between all of the projects in this NDP.

McGrath added that he wanted to see all the money set aside for these projects spent: “There’s a very large amount of funding being provided, we had underspends of capital last year, we’re going to have underspent this year. There is some justification for that in the context of Covid and the shutdown of construction but into the future I want to see this money spent. 

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Rónán Duffy

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