The National Planning Framework (NPF) sets the framework for future planning in Ireland at a national and regional scale. In addition to Ireland’s five cities, the NPF recognises the important regional roles of three other centres as well as the Drogheda-Dundalk-Newry cross-border network.
The Framework indicates that all of these centres and networks should each lead the development of their regions to 2040. The extent to which they should plan to grow in population by 2040 is a matter for local and regional consideration, as part of the regional planning process that is now underway, further to publication of the NPF.
The Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) process has commenced and must address the growth of each region in accordance with the overall parameters of the NPF. This enables local and regional decision-making at the appropriate level, to make choices as to the extent to which each regional centre and cross-border network can and should plan to grow its population to 2040.
One of the important reasons for this is the need to consider the capacity and potential of each town in the context of their wider hinterland and region. While growth plans to 2040 may be ambitious, they must also be realistic and support the objectives of the NPF with regard to compact, balanced growth and development.
Existing population data regarding all settlements in Ireland is provided at Appendix 2 of the NPF, using Central Statistics Office (CSO) data. This includes data for the settlements of Drogheda and Dundalk, using the CSO defined and mapped continuous built-up area, or ‘footprint’, of each settlement, which in the case of Drogheda, included part of two counties.
The NPF, including appendices, is available at the following link: