Sinn Féin is to seek independent legal advice on whether the Government’s National Planning Framework (NPF) announced on Friday last in Sligo, needs to be voted on in the Oireachtas. That’s according to today’s Irish Times.
The strategy aims to manage an anticipated population growth of one million people over the next 20 years, and it was launched with an accompanying 10-year infrastructural plan. However, Opposition parties have raised questions over the legal basis for the implementation of the framework.
Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin said the Taoiseach and Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy had sought to mislead the Dáil on the matter. He says an independent legal opinion is required and confirmed he will be asking the Oireachtas committee on housing to seek such advice.
The Government has insisted the framework will automatically be placed on a statutory footing when the Planning and the Development Bill, which is in the Seanad, is signed into law.
Fianna Fáil’s housing spokesman Barry Cowen said the Government was seeking to undermine legitimate questions being posed by members of the Opposition about the framework.
He said linking the framework to the National Development Plan, which provides funding for capital projects, was an attempt to conflate the two issues.
Project Ireland 2040 was unveiled with a lot of hype and stage show by the government in Sligo IT on Friday last.
It’s a document of almost 300 pages and comes with a commitment to invest 116 billion euro across a range of planning and development programmes. It includes a one billion rural regeneration fund, a 2 billion urban regeneration fund – but does not reveal much detail on how either fund will work.
Sligo has been designated as a regional centre for the northwest in the plan while with Athlone as the same designation for the midlands.
In housing, the Government’s aim is to build an average of 25,000 to 30,000 new homes a year. It also says 112,000 social homes will be built by 2027.
It includes a vision of transport needs over the next twenty years, population growth, climate change and controls.
On the health front, among the items included is a 25 percent increase in hospital beds, the building of three new elective hospitals including one in Galway.
A number of the projects outlined in the plan are already underway, some are new, but it will take some time to see if the plans become a reality.