Monday 20 August 2018

Sound familiar? Here are five aspects of 'Project Ireland 2040' we already knew about

How the planned new national children’s hospital will look
How the planned new national children’s hospital will look

Wayne O’Connor

Have we heard that before?

The Government have launched their 'Project Ireland 2040' plan this afternoon, detailing how they plan to spend a whopping €116bn over the next 20 years.

But how much of it have we heard before?

1. The National Children’s Hospital

This plan has been around so long that the hospital has already been named and is likely to be renamed before completion.

Consolidating the country’s pediatric care on one site was first proposed in the 1990s. It is now 12 years since a HSE taskforce decision selecting the Mater Hospital site as the location for the hospital was met with much criticism.

Since then, the St James’s Hospital site has been selected as the Government’s preferred location for the new children’s hospital.

In 2015 it was estimated the new hospital would cost €650m but this has doubled since.

It was christened Phoenix Children’s Hospital to much fanfare from government at the tail end of last year but was met with criticism and a legal objection from a similarly titled hospital in Arizona. The name is likely to change before the project is completed in 2021.

2. Metro Link

This has been mooted since 2005 when it was included in the then-Fianna Fáil government’s Transport 21 plan.

In 2015 it was included in the Government’s "Building on Recovery: Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2016 – 2021". It envisaged passenger services commencing on the Metro North sometime between 2026 and 2027.

The National Transport Authority has recommended that a "new Metro North" be developed, so under the National Development plan a new metro link will run from Swords, north of the city, to Sandyford, in south Dublin. It will link up with Dublin Airport at a total cost of €3bn.

The National Development Plan proposes completion of this and a Dart expansion programme.

3. Second Runway at Dublin Airport

Development of an additional runway and terminal facilities for Dublin Airport has been included in the plan but has been in the pipeline for some time.

Planning permission for a 3,110m runway to run parallel to the existing stop at the airport was granted by An Bord Pleanala in 2007.

However, its construction has been met with challenges and this week a bid appealing plans for the €320m scheme was dismissed by the High Court.

4. National Maternity Hospital

An Bord Pleanala granted planning permission for the new maternity hospital in the grounds of St Vincent’s Hospital last year.

The €300m project will see existing operations at Holles Street relocate to a new 244-bed site in South Dublin.

It is part of the National Maternity Strategy, launched by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in 2016 during his time as Health Minister. It proposes building four maternity hospitals.

An implementation plan linked to this strategy was launched by Health Minister Simon Harris last year.

It is included in the National Development Plan as part of an aim to deliver improved acute hospital services.

5. Bus Connects

A €1bn overhaul of the capital’s bus programme, set to include redesigned routes, better information at bus stops, new liveries on vehicles, cashless payments and easier transitions for customers between buses and other forms of transport was announced last year.

It promises punctual buses, quicker journey times and aims to make Dublin a more attractive location for employers.

The scheme is included among the national strategic outcomes for more sustainable transport options in the National Development Plan.

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