The Cabinet met in IT Sligo this morning.
The €116 billion Project Ireland 2040 plan, launched this morning at the Institute of Technology in Sligo, aims to Brexit-proof Ireland by investing in the future with a particular focus on the Border Regions.
An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar launched the plan following a special Cabinet meeting at the IT.
According to the Government, Project Ireland 2040 takes a radically different approach to future planning by focusing not just on bricks and mortar, but on social, economic and cultural development. It links planning and investment for the first time in Irish history, balances rural and urban investment, and will avoid the mistakes of the past.
Three quarters of new growth will be outside Dublin, with 50% of the projected population growth planned for our towns, villages and rural areas and 50% for our cities. Dublin, our capital city, must grow up and not out. And it’s underpinned by a 10 year €116 billion National Development Plan. This is a dramatic increase in public investment for Ireland, and makes Ireland a European leader for investment, leaving behind the lost decade since 2008.
It includes four new funds designed to stimulate renewal and investment in rural and urban areas, the environment and innovation:
· €2 billion Urban Regeneration and Development Fund;
· €1 billion Rural Development Fund;
· €500 million Climate Action Fund;
· €500 Disruptive Technologies Fund.
There is also a significant focus on the environment with €22 billion allocated to tackling and dealing with climate change across transport, energy and commercial State agencies.
An Taoiseach said: “This marks a significant milestone in our country’s development, the point at which we put a lost decade behind us and move forward into a new decade of expansion. This is a plan for all our citizens – the old, the young, and the yet to be born, living in towns, in cities and in the countryside. It follows the spirit of Collins and Lemass, people who always strove to raise the prospects of every Irish citizen. It’s about ensuring that all parts of Ireland fulfil their potential. As we approach our 100th anniversary as a sovereign nation, it’s about investing to ensure our country is insulated against any possible challenges like Brexit. It’s a path to a positive, sustainable future.”
Commenting on the National Development Plan, the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe said: ‘This National Development Plan will change how we invest in public infrastructure in Ireland. It moves beyond the approach of the past, which saw public investment spread too thinly and investment decisions which didn’t align with a spatial strategy. These practices contributed to some of the major issues that we, as a country, face today, particularly the predominance of Dublin in terms of economic growth, alongside the challenges facing rural communities’.
Speaking about the National Planning Framework, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy said: “Ireland stands on the cusp of great change. In the next 20 years we will grow by an extra one million people. This raises a series of important questions for our consideration, the most basic being where will all these people live and work, what kind of quality of life will we each enjoy, and how will a country of almost six million people impact on our communities and on our built and natural environment?
“We have a responsibility to answer these questions; we have a responsibility to plan for the changes that we face – to manage our future growth in a productive and sustainable way. This is a challenge certainly, but it is also a great opportunity for a new generation to imagine, and implement, a shared vision for each community on this island.
“Project Ireland 2040 represents an important shift from previous approaches to long-term planning and investment by Government. It is an approach that joins up ambition for improvement across the different areas of our lives, bringing the various government departments, agencies, State owned enterprises and local authorities behind a shared set of strategic objectives for rural, regional and urban development.”