I should first explain that my role is with respect to determining the national capital expenditure envelope, its allocation at the overall sectoral level and to support Departments with a framework that ensures resources are allocated efficiently. I do not have a role in respect of applications or proposals for individual projects at county level.
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.
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 (RSES). The RSES for the Southern Region provides the opportunity for the priorities for County Wexford, for example, that are included in the existing Wexford County Development Plan, to focus on sustainable growth, quality of life and on achievable employment and population growth within Wexford and the Southern Region to be integrated into a regional investment plan which is expected to be a major driver of the implementation of the NPF.