Monday 10 December 2018

Ireland 2040 criticised for 'rehashing old projects' and 'lacking key detail'

Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Leo Varadkar speaking at the Cabinet meeting and launch of Project Ireland 2040 at IT Sligo.
Photo: James Connolly
Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Leo Varadkar speaking at the Cabinet meeting and launch of Project Ireland 2040 at IT Sligo. Photo: James Connolly
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

Accusations of repackaging old projects and failing to provide key details greeted the government’s new development plan as opposition figures rounded on its launch today.

Fianna Fáil warned serious policy changes were needed if targets highlighted in the Ireland 2040 scheme were to be delivered.

It warned the government is already underperforming in meeting key infrastructure targets on housing, transport, health, broadband and climate change.

The party’s finance spokesperson Michael McGrath warned the plan needs to be taken with a pinch of salt because its delivery would prove to be aspirational if economic forces take a turn.

He said recent economic turmoil, the European Central Bank's quantitative easing programme and fluctuating interest rates will have an impact.

"This all means that the low interest environment is quickly coming to an end and the cost of funding the pan announced today is likely to be much higher than would currently be the case.

“I would not be confident that the government has a handle on the full cost of Ireland's changing demographics in terms of pension, education and health costs.

"All these risks are very real and we need to be cognisant of them if today's plan is to come to fruition. While the government will not spell it out, the reality is today's plan is predicated on assumptions that are largely beyond the control of a small open economy like Ireland.”

The Labour party said the plan “another c**k-up”.

Housing spokesperson Jan O’Sullivan questioned publication of the the plan before the law to put it on a statutory basis is passed.

“During the past two weeks the whole thing has been turned on its head because ministers ran scared of making choices in the national interest. The crying shame is that the validity of the plan is now questionable," she said.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan broadly welcomed the plan.

However, he said he would have liked the plan to contain further detail but it shows an ambition to become a leader in climate change.

“Going the right environmental direction is going to be good socially and benefit our country in a whole host of ways," he said.

“The original aspiration, which is the right one is that we bring development back into the centre. On the back of that we get lower carbon, become more economically effective and more socially cohesive development. That’s what we should be doing. It says we want to go that direction but the details are not there and I don’t think the targeting of money is there.”

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News