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Dublin: 15°C Tuesday 26 October 2021

You'll be hearing a LOT about Project Ireland 2040 today - here's why

It’s a vision of Ireland.

Image: Shutterstock/Peter O'Toole

THE CABINET DECAMPS to Sligo today with the launch of a new National Planning Framework top of the agenda.

Project Ireland 2040 comprises of the Framework and a new 10-year €116 billion capital investment plan.

The planning framework is expected to be a future strategy document which lays out how the government will handle future population growth.

It seeks to answer questions like: Where will we live? Where will we work? And how will we get around?

The capital plan will outline what major projects – such as the M20 motorway between Cork and Limerick – are being planned.

The plans’ are ostensibly about how the country will grow the cities of Galway, Cork, Limerick and Waterford and is expected to contain plans around growing them and avoiding the further sprawl of Dublin.

In demographic terms, Ireland’s population is set to grow by a million people in the next 20 years. That means an extra 550,000 homes will be needed and we’re going to need about 660,000 more jobs.

To cope with that extra demand, capital spending plans for schools, infrastructure and housing.

It is expected that the plans will set out a number of key objectives including:

  • Enabling people to live closer to where they work, moving away from the current unsustainable trends of increased commuting
  • Regenerating rural Ireland by promoting environmentally sustainable growth patterns and encouraging people to live in town centres
  • Planning for and implementing a better distribution of regional growth, in terms of jobs and prosperity
  • Transforming settlements of all sizes through urban regeneration and bringing life back into cities, towns and villages

Capital plan

File Photo: The three men arrested as part of an investigation into an international illegal immigrant smuggling network through Dublin Airport, are appearing in court this morning. Two of those arrested are Aer Lingus employees at the airport. End. Source: Laura Hutton/RollingNews.ie

The capital expenditure programme will allow Ireland have a slate of projects to work on in a long-term strategy. This is something the IMF suggested in its 2017 report on Ireland.

It is expected that a number of already-announced projects such as a second runway for Dublin Airport, the National Children’s Hospital and a Dart expansion programme will be included.

It is also expected to contain commitments of billions of euro to roads and other infrastructure plans, as well as upgrades to education, justice and health.


However, the plan is already causing anger on opposition benches.

The National Planning Framework Coalition, made up of Labour’s Alan Kelly, Sinn Féin’s Eoin O’Broin, Fianna Fáil’s Eamon O’Cuiv, and independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice, said the integrity of the process has been compromised.

Kelly, who was the minister who initiated the Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill during the FG-Labour coalition, said it clearly states that a vote on the National Planning Framework should take place in both Houses of the Oireachtas in order to place the plan on a statutory footing.

The Bill is currently before the Seanad, and due to be completed in that House today. It is then due to be referred back to the Dáil next week.

However, Cabinet will sign off on the document today, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar saying the wording of the Bill states a ‘draft’ of the framework should come before the Dáil for a vote.

This vote happened in November.

Read: ‘D. R. A. F. T – not the final draft’ – Taoiseach spells out his position in row with cross-party TDs

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