In what has been a comprehensive and exhaustive review of the National Development Plan, we have worked to align the capital investment plans for the next decade in our country to the most important strategic challenges we face.
It gives clarity about Government investment for the next decade, which in turn gives sectors all across our society and economy the confidence to modernise and plan ahead too.
We will respond to the housing crisis, we will tackle the climate emergency and we will proceed with the digitalisation of our economy and our public services.
We will invest substantially and strategically in education – from primary level right through to advanced research and innovation. The newly formed Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science will be a key enabler.
The Plan’s focus on investment in education will renew what I believe to be the single biggest enabler of progress and prosperity in our country.
I am particularly pleased that the NDP we are presenting today has a particular focus on, and provides significant funding for, an enhanced regime of PE teaching in the country.
We will enable the transformation of our health service, delivering the investment framework necessary for the implementation of Slaintecare.
Unprecedented in scale, this Plan will see investment of €165 billion out to 2030.
It will drive the next phase of our post-pandemic recovery and will create thousands of jobs in the construction sector.
It will invest in our people and our infrastructure to deliver growth that is regionally balanced with strong regional cities.
It sets a pathway to improve the lives of our citizens, our economy and our environment, allowing our nation to continue to compete on the global stage.
It is the largest and most environmentally conscious National Development Plan in the history of the state.
And it will deliver on our goal to build an Irish state that measures success not only by our economic growth, but by our wellbeing as a people.
This National Development Plan includes delivery of projects that are already well signposted or ongoing including Bus Connects and the National Broadband Plan, as well as new and expanded programmes that support our National Strategic Objectives, such as:
• Delivery of the Enterprise Green Transition Fund to help businesses build their resilience, and environmental sustainability
• €360 million annually for active travel programmes
• Positive transformation in our regional cities through public realm investment and the roll out of light rail projects
• Delivery of new and expanded health services including the Enhanced Community Care Programme
The plan builds on the work of our Shared Island Unit and defines new cross-border investment priorities across all sectors. We are backing this with significant, increased Shared Island capital funding – our Shared Island Fund will be at least doubled to €1 Billion out to 2030.
Crucially, the NDP provides the public resources to deliver our Housing for All Plan. As I have said previously and repeatedly, housing is the most urgent and important social issue facing our country right now.
In this Plan we are providing for an unprecedented level of Exchequer resources to build over 300,000 new homes by the end of 2030, including a projected 90,000 social homes, 36,000 affordable purchase homes and 18,000 cost rental homes.
It provides for the critical water and wastewater infrastructure necessary to service hundreds of thousands of new homes.
It is the largest State-led building programme in our history, while also facilitating the large increase in private housing output required to meet our housing needs.
In the process of agreeing this Plan we have looked at what has worked to date, where we need to do more, and what we can do better.
We identify where there is scope for us to increase our ambition – particularly around housing, sustainability and climate – and to that end we are making increased investments in retrofitting, sustainable transport and decarbonising our energy supply.
Frankly, we also believe that as a State, we have to get better actually delivering infrastructure.
Plans are important, but citizens rightly expect delivery. I am confident that the Plan we are publishing today will make a positive difference in this regard.
It outlines a range of measures across the civil and public service to improve project management capacity.
Alongside this, we are taking steps to tackle some of the planning and legal delays which bedevil infrastructure and housing projects in Ireland. Under the direct supervision of the Attorney General, there will be a swift and comprehensive review and reform of our planning system.
We will also work with the construction sector to increase its capacity, with a particular focus on innovation and productivity. The clarity that we are providing today, and the confirmation of this large pipeline of projects does give the industry the certainty it says it needs to invest in the skills and capacity to deliver.
In conclusion, this Plan reflects our priorities and ambitions for Ireland as we emerge from a once-in-a-century pandemic, learning from that experience and building on the positive changes and new perspectives that have emerged.
We published an Economic Recovery Plan in July and that is being successfully implemented.
Our Housing for All Strategy is now being delivered, supported by the multi-annual resources announced today.
The Budget next week will chart our economic course as we move forward with the next phase of recovery.
This National Development Plan, along with the Climate Action Plan later this month, means that as a country we have the policies, plans and resources to renew our society, rebuild our economy and build for the future.