Tuesday, 6 February 2018
Ceisteanna - Questions
There are many priorities for the Taoiseach's Department in the coming year. I would imagine that the publication of the national planning framework and, more significantly, its implementation are massively important. My party has engaged very extensively with this process and we have made a number of detailed submissions. We know it is important that we get this right. We all want a thriving capital city in Dublin, where there are huge pressures on public services, housing, public transport, infrastructure and population growth. We also need a release valve in different parts of the country and in the regional cities to ensure that we have significant population growth in areas outside Dublin.
There are concerns about the plan. We have an issue about the serious imbalance between the plans for urban and rural areas. We also have significant concerns about its proposals for the north west and the vagueness of the North-South dimension. Given the Brexit issue we discussed earlier, I imagine that an all-island and North-South impact and focus would need to be front and centre in any national planning framework.
In respect of the south east and my own constituency, there is hope for a very important project as part of the national planning framework. That is the North Quays, where €300 million of private sector investment is being put on the table and €60 million to €70 million of State funding is necessary to realise the project and get it over the line. This is one of a number of projects which need to underpin any national planning framework if it is to be successful and if it is to be aligned with capital infrastructure. Can the Taoiseach inform the House if plans and proposals like the North Quays project will feature and be properly funded so that we can actually allow those cities that will be identified as regional cities to grow their populations, provide leadership and provide the capacity that is necessary for the entire region and, in that case, the south east to grow and develop? I would appreciate if the Taoiseach could give a response specifically on that issue but also more widely on the national planning framework and its impact on the entire island.