Project Ireland 2040 involves investment in infrastructure of almost €116bn in the ten years to 2027. This combines €91bn directly from the Exchequer, as well as nearly €25bn by State-owned commercial companies.
Project Ireland 2040 is described as taking a radically different approach to future planning “by focusing not just on bricks and mortar, but on social, economic and cultural development”.
Minister for finance and public expenditure and reform, Paschal Donohoe, said: “This National Development Plan will change how we invest in public infrastructure in Ireland. It moves beyond the approach of the past, which saw public investment spread too thinly and investment decisions which didn’t align with a spatial strategy. These practices contributed to some of the major issues that we, as a country, face today, particularly the predominance of Dublin in terms of economic growth, alongside the challenges facing rural communities. In order to meet the needs our citizens, a number of major innovations are being introduced. Among them are a longer-term (10-year) strategic approach to public capital investment; a sustained increase in that investment to meet the infrastructural needs of all communities; four new Funds to target urban and rural renewal, climate action and ‘disruptive technologies’; and the establishment of a new National Regeneration and Development Agency to help to drive growth and renewal in towns and cities across the country – all of which will enable us to work towards making a more equal and a fairer Ireland a reality.”
Some of the key features of Project Ireland 2040 include:
- €8.4bn investment in primary and post primary schools, 50 large scale school projects each year with an additional 15,000 schools places annually;
- 2,600 extra acute hospital beds and three new dedicated ambulatory elective-only hospitals in Dublin, Cork and Galway to specifically tackle waiting lists;
- €7.3bn for regional road accessibility investing in national roads across Ireland, plus €4.5bn for regional and local, improving links to the north west and across the country;
- Building at least 25,000 homes a year by 2020, rising to 30-35,000 annually up to 2027;
- Developing the Atlantic Corridor high-quality road network linking Cork, Limerick, Galway and Sligo;
- €2.2bn investment in higher education infrastructure, including public-private partnership investment in 11 Institutes of Technology;
- Investment in airports and ports, including a second runway for Dublin Airport, a Regional Airports Programme and dedicated investment in Dublin, Cork and Shannon Foynes Port;
- Develop the Metro Link in Dublin, expand DART to Drogheda, Celbridge, Maynooth and Greystones, and planning for the expansion of Luas;
- Upgrading energy insulation in 45,000 homes per annum from 2021.
Prime minister Leo Varadkar said: “This marks a significant milestone in our country’s development, the point at which we put a lost decade behind us and move forward into a new decade of expansion. This is a plan for all our citizens – the old, the young, and the yet to be born, living in towns, in cities and in the countryside. It follows the spirit of Collins and Lemass, people who always strove to raise the prospects of every Irish citizen. It’s about ensuring that all parts of Ireland fulfil their potential. As we approach our 100th anniversary as a sovereign nation, it’s about investing to ensure our country is insulated against any possible challenges like Brexit. It’s a path to a positive, sustainable future.”