A major plan that aims to shape Ireland's future was announced on Friday by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Here are the priorities on the agenda.
The recently announced Project Ireland 2040 is the first time in Irish history a joint Planning & Investment plan and cultural plan has been put together.
The project makes provisions for Ireland of the future: a country that is expected to have at least one million more inhabitants.
The project consists of two plans: The National Planning Framework (NPF) which will focus on regional development. Whereas the National Development Plan (NDP) will focus on infrastructure, with a total allocated budget of €115 billion/$145 billion.
Project #Ireland2040 is the Government’s overarching plan to make Ireland a better country for all, one that reflects the best of who we are and what we aspire to be. Find out what Project Ireland means for you at https://t.co/UcROkg9Skp 🇮🇪 pic.twitter.com/ZaImz7IIu2— MerrionStreet.ie (@merrionstreet) February 16, 2018
Both comprehensively outlined plans aim to cover issues of concern in relation to health, housing, climate action, culture, and more by the year 2040.
No definitive timeline has been enacted, but according to the National Planning Framework website, certain changes will be implemented as soon as the coming months/year.
Funding for the ambitious projects - which tackle everything from roads to schools - will be mainly coming from money raised through general taxation.
National Development Plan issues deemed most timely that have already been financially outlined for include the following development funds:
1. A €500 million ‘disruptive technologies innovation fund’.
- This financial aid will be available to start ups and existing companies who plan to integrate innovative technology.
2. A €1bn rural development fund.
- This proposed money will be assigned to various projects over the next decade. Approximately €315 million will be available for drawdown up until the year 2022.
3. A €2bn urban regeneration fund.
- Similarly, this money will be assigned over the next 10 years+. €550m will be allocated for projects up until the year 2022.
4. A €100m climate action fund.
5. A €30m regional enterprise development fund
The National Development Plan has outlined for new motorways, and will also make improvements and amendments to existing roads.
Major announcements include the revelation of an M20 motorway between Cork and Limerick. This is expected to cost in the region of €900 million. A Galway Ring Road, costing €550 million, has also been announced.
Good news for suburban commuters in the capital: Dublin's public transport system is being re-envisioned.
The Dublin Metro will be amended to better serve Swords, Dublin Airport, Dublin City University, Ballymun, the Mater Hospital and the Luas Green Line.
A Dublin Metro linking Swords to Sandyford via Dublin Airport has been confirmed.
There will be four new LUAS lines to Lucan, Finglas, Poolbeg, and Bray (although hold your horses - work is expected to take place in 2027.)
The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) will expand to see high-frequency services extended to towns like Drogheda, Celbridge, and Maynooth. New stations will also be opened on these DART lines.
Meanwhile, Dublin Airport is due to get a second runway and some €350 million is being invested in Dublin Port.
Some 112,000 new social housing homes will be built by 2027.
Among the beneficiaries are The National Library of Ireland, The National Archives of Ireland, The National Museum of Ireland, The Crawford Art Gallery, and The Chester Beatty Gallery.
A new Children's Hospital at St James' existing campus in Dublin will be built.
Outpatient departments and urgent care centers will also be build at Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown and at Tallaght Hospital.
New and existing oncology and radiation departments will be developed and expanded in Cork, Galway, and Dublin.
Some 90 nursing homes across the country will be refurbished and improved.