With just days to go to the unveiling in Sligo of the National Planning Framework (NPF) the Government are urgently rewriting the details of the €115 billion spending spree to develop the nation up to 2040.
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.
At 11am on Friday the NPF will be revealed at IT Sligo.
See link (i) below
Sligo/Leitrim Government TD Tony McLoughlin said, “It is anticipated by many that the Government have chosen Sligo as the destination for the official launch of these two exciting plans as it will feature somewhat in the contents of both announcements, although this remains to be confirmed by Government."
“In December, I invited The Taoiseach to visit Sligo to view just why it needs to be included in the final version of the plan. I have worked tirelessly behind the scenes since the draft version of the plan was released. Sligo and the entire North West Region were completely overlooked in my opinion."
Mr McLoughlin stressed that this was a 'red line' issue for him. See link (ii) below.
Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Marc Mac Sharry last week called on the Government to ensure that the North West is included in the National Planning Framework and that co-ordinated strategy including a capital investment plan is devised to boost economic activity in the region.
Deputy Mac Sharry said, “People living in Sligo, Donegal, Leitrim and parts of the Midlands are incensed by the Government’s draft National Planning Framework, which essentially has excluded the North West and parts of Mayo, Roscommon and Westmeath. "No town or village north of Galway and Dublin has been mentioned, exposing the government’s Dublin and urban focused attitude to investment." See link (iii) below.
When asked yesterday if the final document will silence rural TDs who have criticised the NPF draft, Housing Minister Eoghan 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."
Minister 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.Water
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.
This confirmation should prompt the four local Sligo/Leitrim TDs to target Irish Water development in the NPF as over 13,000 Sligo people are still under a water boil notice and unsure when it's likely to end. The concerned residents and businesses in south Sligo have, as yet, have had no indication when the boil notice will be lifted. See Link (iv) below.
According to reports it is envisaged that the problem could continue for the next two or three years while a new water treatment plant is completed. However planning permission for such a plant has already been refused by Sligo County Council in 2015 and must be resubmitted before any work can commence.Meanwhile John Moran, Director of the European Investment Bank and former Department of Finance secretary general , said that he is very worried about how the plan is developing.
"There's been a year and a half of consultation, a year and a half of thinking about what the right options are and of course there's not only one, there's lots of different ones, but it's important to have one," he said.
"So if somebody has spent a year and a half coming up with a single plan and figuring out how you would get that to operate when you suddenly, in the last week or two, start adding in new things, without proper consideration to that, that's incredibly worrying."
Links: (i) Sligo Today 12/2/2018
(ii) Sligo Today 12/2/2018
Link: (iii) Sligo Today 8/2/2018
Link: (iv) Sligo Today 4/2/2018