Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 20 January 2022
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government
Land Development Agency: Chairman Designate
I do not agree. Much of the State land is within our counties, and in our larger towns and villages there is State land, except that the Government through its councils has been trying to sell off the land so that it shows we do not have as much public land as people are saying. There is adequate land within the counties but there is a lack of infrastructure. I look forward to working with Mr. O'Rourke and I welcome everything he is doing, but with all the vast experience he has, we need to change the policies from the point of view of Government, and it is people like him who, with his experience and although not a policy changer, is a person of great wisdom from the years of experience he has given to Transport Infrastructure Ireland, TII, and all across that, which travels to all the counties. It means we have to change mindsets of people that there is living outside cities. There are large towns such as Newcastle West and Kilmallock and other areas that can become sustainable for agencies such as the LDA to invest in to create sustainability for areas that would be 15 minutes from such towns. For example, in the case of Newcastle West it would bring in towns such as Abbeyfeale. Fifteen minutes from Kilmallock would bring in such places as Hospital, Kilfinane and all those areas. That is where I am looking for sustainability.
I look for the vision of people in the position of the witnesses to bring that message to the Government and show it that there can be sustainable pockets outside the cities where they create hubs into which other areas up to 15 minutes away can feed into. If the infrastructure is created in those large towns, that will benefit the villages, and then there will be the transport infrastructure whereby you can travel between cities and large towns, which gives a full mapping of all our counties. That is what I am asking for: a vision outside of the cities. People like Mr. O'Rourke and Mr. Coleman can give examples of this to Government. I will appreciate any help they can give us in the counties. I understand where they are coming from in terms of their portfolio in the cities.