Ireland 2040 needs decoding rather than reading

February 16, 2018

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy TD has said that while many of the projects promised in today’s launch of the National Development Plan are laudable, she has serious reservations about the ability to deliver on them and she questioned whether or not there has been any joined-up thinking to link this plan with previous plans and strategies.

Deputy Murphy said today’s plan today cannot be considered as starting from a new line in the sand and must be viewed in the context of plans that are currently in place including the National Spatial Strategy.

Speaking following the launch of Ireland 2040 Catherine Murphy TD said:

“Consolidating city cores is and should be a key priority for the NPF however, the legacy of the National Spatial Strategy, which is still in place and still informs development decisions today will at the very least delay if not fragment the approach laid out in today’s plan.

“There is no real evidence in this plan that any transition between the two plans has been considered. While consolidating the city and town cores is the correct approach the plan fails to show how transition from the National Spacial Strategy to the NPF will occur.

“Much of the growth of the past two decades has taken place on the periphery of the cities Dublin, Cork, and Limerick with Galway bucking that trend.  Those suburban and outer suburban communities will continue to grow because large tracts of land continue to be rezoned for housing including under Ministerial direction.

“The worst of all worlds would be that the housing development continues on the periphery without parallel investment and this plan today gives no reassurances that won’t be the case. Dart Underground is a case in point it is the kind of project that benefits Dublin City Centre but also the suburbs and outer suburbs. Today’s plan shelves the DART Underground project and that is a significant failure of this plan.”

She also said the housing targets in the plan are just another version of previous grandiose housing announcements by this Government with very little evidence of any delivery or indeed an implementation strategy for delivery.

“Ambitious housing targets are being set in the plan but Government has an appalling track record on delivery including a complete inability to even accurately count house completion numbers. The LIHAF fund to open up developments is commended as a success however there is no affordability test for houses built meaning that even housing which does come on-stream remains unaffordable to many.

Deputy Murphy added:

“There is a real question mark for me over the language used in the plan. For example there is what is described as ‘provision of 112,000 social housing homes over the next decade, it is not a commitment to build those homes. The language is more about spin than delivery. With that in mind the plan needs to be read very carefully as to what it will actually deliver.

“Overall the plan is lacking in implementation strategy, it requires decoding rather than reading and it’s very difficult to see how this plan can ever reach a statutory footing.”

ENDS

16 February 2018