Ireland last week unveiled its ten year €115 billion National Development Plan for the country’s infrastructure.
Some €90 billion will come directly from Irish government funding and a further €25 billion will come from Ireland’s commercial State-owned bodies.
The projects include a second runway at Dublin Airport, the M20 motorway to connect Cork and Limerick and expansion of the DART. There will also be investment in regional airports and school buildings across the country.
The Irish government said it would prioritise health and projects like the proposed new National Children’s Hospital and a National Maternity Hospital. There will also be a Rural Regeneration and Development Fund to increase investment for projects in rural towns.
New communications technology for the Gardaí is also a priority, it said, as is funding to help Ireland reach its climate change goals.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that the National Planning Framework had to be realistic to avoid the mistakes of previous plans that promised too much. He said it would be very easy for the Government to sign off on a plan that promised to turn every second town into a city and every village into a town.
He said the framework will plan for Ireland’s population to grow by a million and would aim to rebalance growth and development away from Dublin to other cities, and to reverse population decline in rural Ireland.
Dublin would have to “grow up” not “out”, he said.
“If we don’t have a plan, or a plan that is not credible, then we will just continue on the same trajectory that we are on now and in that scenario everyone is a loser,” he said.
Ireland’s population is expected to increase by a million people over the next 25 years and to need an extra 600,000 jobs, and half a million homes.
The number of people aged over 65 is expected to double. Under the plan Dublin is expected to grow by 25 per cent – an extra 265,000 people – while Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford will be expected to grow by 50 per cent to 60 per cent.