Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Ceisteanna (521)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

521. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if his attention has been drawn to a campaign established by a group (details supplied) in response to the national planning framework under Project Ireland 2040; if his attention has been further drawn to the negative impact which the group claims the policies will have on the social and economic development of the region as a whole; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20988/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Government published Project Ireland 2040 which incorporates the National Planning Framework (NPF) and the 10-year National Development Plan (NDP) in February 2018. Project Ireland prioritises the wellbeing of all of our people, wherever they live and whatever their background. The NPF seeks to ensure that the population and economic growth which will take place in Ireland to 2040 is shared more evenly across the regions, and it is explicitly stated that securing regional balance is the fundamental purpose of the NPF.

The NDP outlines a programme of capital investment to 2027 which supports the objectives of the NPF. The NDP sets out investment across sectors such as transport, energy, communications and tourism that will support both regional development and rural development.

For example, one of the ten strategic outcomes in the NPF is Enhanced Regional Accessibility. To support this outcome, the NDP sets out funding of €7.3 billion for investment in regional roads and accessibility to the North-West.

Similarly, the NDP sets out funding of €8.8 billion to support the NPF strategic outcome of Empowered Rural Economies and Communities. This includes investment in broadband, agriculture and tourism, as well as the establishment of a new Rural Regeneration and Development Fund which will provide an additional €1 billion over the next ten years to support the development of our smaller towns, villages and rural areas.

I am aware of the campaign referred to by the Deputy. It is very encouraging to see young people engaged in the debate around rural and regional development and seeking to ensure that they have the opportunities that they deserve within their own regions. Realising these opportunities is very much the objective of the NPF and NDP. Delivering the strategic outcomes of the NPF will ensure that we achieve regional balance and prosperity for all areas of the country for the future.