Thursday, 22 February 2018

Ceisteanna (72)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

72. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the parts of the national development plan that will assist development in County Longford. [9077/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The ten-year National Development Plan (NDP) has been put in place to underpin the implementation of the National Planning Framework (NPF) to support the development of all counties and regions, both urban and rural areas.

The NDP sets out an investment programme of €116 billion, aligned to the ten National Strategic Outcomes (NSOs) detailed in the NPF which are critical to long-term economic, social and environmental sustainability in the period to 2040.  Investment in urban and rural regeneration and development, drawing on two new Funds with total resources of €3 billion established for this purpose have the potential to have a transformative impact on both urban and rural areas and communities countrywide.  The sharp focus in the NDP on measures to strengthen the all-island economy have a vital role to play in mitigating the risks and realising the opportunities created by the UK's exit from the EU.  A core priority under the NPF which is supported by the investment plans in the NDP is the essential requirement to enhance and upgrade accessibility between urban centres of population and their regions, particularly in relation to road linkages to the North-West from Dublin which, the NDP notes, have been comparatively neglected until recently.  Total funding of €8.8 billion is allocated to the NSO of strengthened rural economies and communities which is a cornerstone of NDP, including in relation to the delivery of the National Broadband Plan and significant investment in regional and local roads.  The NDP also contains, as a priority, increased investment in public transport including train fleets.  Chapter 5 of the NDP details as a fundamental objective of the Plan the investment planned in enhancing regional growth potential through an integrated programme of measures including, for example, regional sectoral clustering and the promotion of entrepreneurship on a regional basis.  The Plan also highlights the importance of strengthening Ireland's international connectivity through continued investment in ports and airports, including under the Regional Airports Programme.  It sets out the major programme of investment planned in the heritage area including in national parks and nature reserves.  Continued investment over the ten years of the Plan to ensure the sustainable management of water resources is a further investment priority which is clearly relevant to all regions and counties.  Finally the Plan sets out the investments planned in the areas of quality childcare, education and health services which are a defining characteristic of attractive, successful and competitive places.

Under the NPF and as set out in section 6.3 of the NDP the three Regional Assemblies are now tasked with co-ordinating, promoting and supporting the strategic planning and sustainable development of their regions, consistent with the objectives of the NPF through the preparation of Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies (RSESs).  The RSES for the Eastern and Midland Region is due to be completed by early 2019.  This provides the opportunity for the priorities for County Longford, for example, those that are included in the existing Longford County Development Plan focused on sustainable growth and quality of life and on achievable employment and population growth within Longford and the Midlands region to be integrated into a regional investment plan which is expected to a major driver of the implementation of the NPF.