Monday 16 July 2018

'It's the end of a lost decade' - ministers set to launch €116bn 'Project Ireland 2040'

  • 'It's a great day for the country' - say ministers
  • Ministers get ready for 2pm launch of €116bn plan for the future of Ireland
  • They deny 'Project Ireland 2040' is an election ploy
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar before his 'Project Ireland 20140' announcement today (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar before his 'Project Ireland 20140' announcement today (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)

Kevin Doyle and Shona Murray

Ministers have declared it "a great day for the country" as they arrived in Sligo to sign off on a €116bn plan for the future of Ireland.

Speaking from Sligo IT, Transport Minister Shane Ross said they were heralding the "end of a lost decade".

He denied ‘Project Ireland 2040’ was an election ploy, insisting that it was a long-term strategy that will transform the country.

"Most of these projects won’t be completed anywhere near the time of the next election," he said, adding that people need to "talk about what Ireland is going to look like in 2040".

"We’re not talking about what it will look like by the next election," Mr Ross said.

He said the plan would remedy many of the infrastructure problems facing the country, using the word "revolution" to describe the selection of transport projects including a new Metro, €7bn for roads and four new Luas lines.

"We’re going to make it much easier for people to go to work, and go to school.

"We’re going to connect rural and urban communities in a way that is going to resolve a great deal of the difficulties that have been there.

"We’ve got huge plans for roads. We’ve got massive plans for tourism. We’re going to introduce a new midlands brand," he said.

Business Minister Heather Humphries said the plan would help Ireland defend itself against Brexit.

"It's the first time we’ve had a planning framework that’s underpinned by investment," she said.

"It’s a very exciting day; we’re here in Sligo IT and what we’re doing is investing in the future for young people and we’ve going to invest in institutes like this right across the country.

"My department is announcing €500 million in disruptive technologies fund and that will mean people can invest in jobs of the future."

Ms Humphries, who is from Monaghan, said it was a "good day for the border region".

"There’s a lot of investment in that area in terms of a number of different projects but what we have also is a collaboration working together on a cross-border basis which is very important to strengthen that region and also to invest in economic opportunities," he said.

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