Thursday 19 July 2018

Vision for developing country 'a plan for all' - Murphy

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Picture: PA
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Picture: PA

Cormac McQuinn and Wayne O'Connor

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy tried to defuse criticism of the Government's planned €115bn spending spree and vision for developing the country up to 2040 by saying it will be a "plan for all of Ireland".

He made the remarks as he insisted the National Planning Framework (NPF) would address concern that there's not enough for rural areas.

A cross-party coalition of rural TDs has heavily criticised a draft of the NPF and warned it won't get support in the Dáil unless it's substantially rewritten.

The Government will unveil the NPF, along with the €115bn capital spending plan that underpins it, in Sligo this Friday.

When asked if the final document will silence rural TDs who have criticised the NPF draft, Mr Murphy replied: "This is a plan for all of Ireland. This is about making sure that as we grow by one million people, 75pc of that growth is managed away from Dublin."

He said too many people moving to Dublin would be "to the detriment" of the capital.

Mr Murphy said he had been working with Rural Affairs Minister Michael Ring to reflect on submissions made by politicians and the public during a consultation period and said that changes had been made as a result of that process.

Supply

Speaking at the launch of the first phase of a €400m upgrade of the Ringsend Treatment Plant in Dublin, he confirmed that there would be funding for water infrastructure in Friday's announcement.

Among other projects, Irish Water wants to see the up to €1.4bn construction costs of a pipeline to supply Dublin with water from the Shannon included in the capital plan.

Mr Murphy would not say if all of Irish Water's funding requests would be included.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Richard Bruton said funding to build technological universities added to the "balanced regional development" in the plan. Mr Bruton said education would be an "important pillar" of the programme.

"We believe that by investing in our young people, creating an opportunity for research, for key enabling technologies, to build our technological universities network right across the country - that is what drives both economic progress, social progress but also balanced regional development," said Mr Bruton.

Elsewhere, Culture Minister Josepha Madigan said she was "seeking to get as much as I can" for the arts, Gaeltacht areas and cultural institutions from the NPF plan.

Irish Independent

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