Ireland 2040 Our Plan – Press Release

Today the Government published “Ireland 2040 – Our Plan” for its final round of public consultations. Over the next number of weeks, until 3 November, the public will have a chance to review what is essentially the long-term strategic planning framework for our country’s future growth and prosperity. Ireland 2040 – Our Plan will guide national, regional and local planning opportunities throughout our Republic together with investment decisions for at least the next two decades.

Minister Eoghan Murphy said:

“What we hope to achieve with Ireland 2040 – Our Plan is a shared vision and ambition for what our country could look like by 2040. We’ve been through a period of profound change in our recent history, with new challenges to come. We now have to plan for our future if we are to successfully navigate the challenges of population growth, demographic change and evolution in work and life practices that are on the way.”

“Continuing our growth and development patterns according to the status quo and without a coordinated plan is no longer an option. By aligning our spatial planning with our investment decisions – by aligning the National Development Plan with a ten year National Investment Plan – we will for the first time have a meaningful planning framework that people can have confidence will deliver for their communities.”

Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development Damien English added:

“By 2040, we know that Ireland will be home to an additional one million people, an extra 600,000 people at work, needing at least half a million additional homes. Twenty years ago, we were a country of 3.5m people; by 2040, that will be approaching 6m people and an island population of nearly 8 million meaning that vision, determination and strategic planning will be vital in ensuring that our growth is well planned and leaves lasting benefits”.

Frances Fitzgerald TD, Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation

“In today’s globalised and increasingly competitive economy, quality of place is a key competitive advantage, which is why Ireland’s enterprise policy puts the quality of our urban and rural places at the top of the agenda from a business and enterprise development perspective. Our objective is to ensure that all regions can reach their potential and provide quality jobs for people throughout Ireland. Ireland 2040 now puts in place a strong place-based development strategy for Ireland’s cities, towns and rural fabric, which will furthermore be backed up by 10-year coordinated investment planning in the essential infrastructure that makes our urban and rural fabric work and a successful basis for our country’s development in business, enterprise and innovation terms.Our cross government, cohesive approach will ensure that our implementation actions are mutually reinforcing to deliver our ambitious, enterprise policy, Enterprise 2025, and that we can realise our vision for, sustainable full employment and improved quality of life for all”.

Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade

“Ireland’s place in the world and our relationships with our nearest neighbours in Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom and the European Union will change and develop in the years ahead, which is why it is crucially important that we plan strategically, taking into account the potential of our dynamic island economy and the opportunities to not only develop, but deepen our linkages with our key trading partners in Europe and the wider global context. Ireland 2040 is a visible expression of a country that knows the headwinds it must address but that is also confident of its future and place in the world.”

Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform

“The commitment to finalise and publish Ireland 2040 – the National Planning Framework – for public consultation before Government develops a 10-year national plan for investment is visible proof that, having emerged from significant economic challenges, Ireland is now ready to plan with vision and confidence for stronger and more stable national and regional development. The feedback from the public consultation phase will assist in finalising Ireland 2040 so that there is a robust, clear and realistic strategic planning framework for my Departments to progress the appropriate budgetary and investment follow-through, in particular through the 10-year National Investment Plan, which will be published together with the National Planning Framework.”

Heather Humphries TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

“Ireland 2040 rightly places an enormous emphasis on conserving and harnessing the distinctiveness of Ireland’s culture and heritage and its islands as an intrinsic part of our country’s place distinctiveness and therefore how we distinguish ourselves in sustainably developing our regions and our rural fabric in particular. Policy choices and priorities within the National Planning Framework will be shaped and enhanced by our unique Irish character, our affinity with our history, landscape and rich culture and our creative spirit.”

Denis Naughton TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment

“Ireland 2040 has been developed in a way that takes full account of, and will be a key implementation instrument for, the National Mitigation Plan on climate change and further work on climate change adaptation as we transition to a low carbon economy and society. In addition, the National Planning Framework sets a strategic development context for the roll-out of high speed broadband networks in rural Ireland, energy systems and infrastructure, and the sustainable development of our natural resources.”

Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development

“Ireland 2040 reflects rural Ireland and our regions as key elements in the development of our country for the next two decades and beyond. It also focuses on improving the quality of life for communities throughout Ireland, in both urban and rural areas. In this context, Ireland 2040 underpins the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development which is seeking to maximise the economic and social potential of rural Ireland, as well as the Framework Policy for Local and Community Development which seeks to create vibrant, sustainable and self-determining communities across Ireland. Ireland 2040 will provide a framework to support rural and community development policy for years to come.”

Shane Ross TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport

“Ireland’s transport sector plays a key societal role for the citizens of Ireland whether they reside in our cities, towns or rural areas. The planning and strategic development policies set out in Ireland 2040 will better support the development of an integrated and sustainable public transport system. Choices about how places are planned and designed and choices about the delivery of transport infrastructure and services are very dependent on each other, and achieving a close linking of the two can be to their mutual benefit and lead to more coherent outcomes for society.

The development of our tourism and sports sectors can also be enabled by the planning and strategic development policies set out in Ireland 2040 by enhancing our natural and built environment and making Ireland a more attractive place in which to live and to visit.”

This final phase of consultation is the culmination of years of extensive work, of stakeholder and public consultations at a national, regional and local level, including more than 30 workshops, nine regional roadshows and earlier periods of public consultation. This work, led by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government has been guided by a National Advisory Group on the National Planning framework.

Written submissions can be made between Wednesday 27th September and 12 noon on Friday 3rd November by:
  1. Going on-line:- just log on to our website (link is external) and follow the instructions provided;
  2. Email to the following email address only
  3. Writing to the following address: NPF Submissions, Forward Planning Section, Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government, Custom House, Dublin D01 W6X0.

Note to Editors

The report is published on the Ireland 2040 website at (link is external)

What is “Ireland 2040 – Our Plan”?

It’s a National Planning Framework – the one document that will guide at a high-level strategic planning and development for the country over the next 20+ years, so that as the population grows, that growth is sustainable (in economic, social and environmental terms).

Finalisation of the NPF later this year alongside the 10-year National Investment Plan, will essentially put together one plan to guide strategic development and infrastructure investment at national level.

The NPF with the National Investment Plan will also set the context for each of Ireland’s three regional assemblies to develop their Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies taking account of and co-ordinating local authority County and City Development Plans in a manner that will ensure national, regional and local plans align.

Objectives of “Ireland 2040”

The ultimate objectives of the NPF are to:
  • guide the future development of Ireland, taking into account a projected 1 million increase in our population, the need to create 660,000 additional jobs to achieve full employment and a need for 550,000 more homes by 2040;
  • Of the 1 million extra people,
  • 25% is planned for Dublin, recognised as our key international and global city of scale and principal economic driver,
  • 25% across the other four cities combined (Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford), enabling all four to grow their population and jobs by 50-60%, and become cities of greater scale, i.e. growing by twice as much as they did over the previous 25 years to 2016, and
  • with the remaining 50% of growth to occur in key regional centres, towns, villages and rural areas, to be determined in the forthcoming regional plans – Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies (RSESs).
  • Enable people to live closer to where they work, moving away from the current unsustainable trends of increased commuting;
  • Regenerate rural Ireland by promoting environmentally sustainable growth patterns;
  • Plan for and implement a better distribution of regional growth, in terms of jobs and prosperity;
  • Transform settlements of all sizes through imaginative urban regeneration and bring life / jobs back into cities, towns and villages;
  • Co-ordinate delivery of infrastructure and services in tandem with growth, through joined-up NPF/National Investment Plan and consistent sectoral plans, which will help to manage this growth and tackle congestion and quality of life issues in Dublin and elsewhere
Among the other key points highlighted and addressed within the draft NPF are:
  • Proposals to significantly strengthen regional growth and connectivity, particularly in and between the four cities outside Dublin, within the Northern and Western Regional Assembly area, and more broadly within the Southern and Eastern Regions;
  • Proposals to secure more compact forms of urban development in all types of settlements, to reduce sprawl and to provide more choice, with a new national infill development target to accommodate 40% of the urban growth within existing built-up areas on brownfield lands;
  • Proposals to counteract the decline of small towns and rural areas throughout Ireland, especially those located outside the catchment area of cities and larger towns;
  • Recognition of the importance of the countryside as a living and lived-in landscape and community requiring careful planning to ensure it is sustained;
  • A major emphasis on quality of life issues and how places can be better developed and designed to respond to the challenges of fast-changing and more diverse communities, including a significant increase in the proportion of the national population aged over 65;
  • Identification of key north-south, all-island interactions and relationships to be maintained and further developed for the benefit of both jurisdictions, notwithstanding Brexit outcomes;
  • Policies aligning with the National Mitigation Plan on climate change, enabling Ireland’s transition to a low-carbon economy and reaping the rewards of sustainable economic progress;
  • Proposals to ensure the effective joint management of our on-shore and off-shore resources and recognition of the need for a consistent and effective policy and regulatory approach for terrestrial and marine planning;
  • Investment principles to guide the development and implementation of a new National Investment Plan, to accommodate the planned level of growth needed and unlock major future economic potential and signalling a new ‘smart growth’ competitive fund for rural and urban areas; and
  • A range of environmental assessments as required under EU and national legislation requirements in relation to matters such as Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Habitats Directive and ‘Floods’ Directive, which will significantly strengthen the planning process from an environmental legislation alignment perspective.
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