The Government has launched an ambitious plan which details how more than €116 billion will be spent on infrastructure projects over the next 22 years.
Here are some of the key points of the National Development Plan and National Planning Framework:
- Athlone and Sligo identified as regional centres where economic development should be focused.
- Letterkenny, Drogheda, and Dundalk to be prioritised as towns that will benefit from cross-border regional development.
- Ambitious growth targets of 50% set for the cities of Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford.
- Development in Dublin will be focused within and close to the city.
- 500,000 new homes required up to 2040.
- New technological university for the southeast.
- Second runway for Dublin Airport at a cost of €320 million.
- Regional airports such as Knock and Donegal to get increased investment.
- Metro-link connecting Swords and Sandyford via Dublin Airport to be delivered by 2027 at cost of €3bn.
- DART to be extended to run to Drogheda and Maynooth.
- €4.5bn to be invested in regional and local roads.
- €460m motorway to connect Longford and Mullingar.
- €500m fund set up for technological innovation.
- €1bn to be invested regenerating rural towns and villages.
Below are extracts from Project Ireland 2040 which show the areas which the plan will focus on:
The immediate priority is to increase overall housing supply to a baseline level of 25,000 homes a year by 2020, and then a likely level of 30-35,000 annually up to 2027.
Within this output, 112,000 households are expected to have their housing needs met in a social housing home over the next decade.
A €2 billion Urban Regeneration and Development Fund will aim to achieve sustainable growth in Ireland's five cities and other large urban centres, incentivising collaborative approaches to development by public and private sectors.
"We want to secure at least 40% of our future housing needs by building and renewing within our existing built-up areas, whether they be in the many villages and towns in need of regeneration or in our cities and larger towns where there are also huge opportunities for city and town centre regeneration.
"A National Regeneration and Development Agency will therefore be established to ensure more effective co-ordination and management of the development of lands, in particular publicly-owned lands within and throughout urban centres across a range of scales, delivering more compact and sustainable growth," it says.
Investment will enhance road networks across the regions, with a particular focus on enhancing accessibility to the north-west.
Substantial progress has been made since 2000 in improving road linkage between Dublin and most other urban areas and regions. The objective is now to complete those linkages, particularly to the north-west which has been comparatively neglected until recently.
The other major objective is to make substantial progress in linking regions and urban areas, not just to Dublin, but to each other. A particular priority is substantially delivering the 'Atlantic corridor' with a high quality road network linking Cork, Limerick, Galway and Sligo.
Investment will be directed to a more equal balance of growth between Ireland's three regions - the northern and western; southern; and eastern and midland (which includes Dublin).
The objective is that all three regions should grow at broadly comparable rates, as opposed to a continuation of the current long-term trend in which growth and opportunity in Dublin and the wider eastern and midland area far exceeds the rest of the country.
75% of future population growth will be outside Dublin across the regions and including rural areas.
A Rural Regeneration and Development Fund of €1bn will be established to invest in rural renewal to allow towns, villages and outlying rural areas to grow sustainably.
The delivery of the National Broadband Strategy ensuring coverage in villages, rural areas and islands is planned as "a short-term action".
An environmentally sustainable public transport system will enable economic growth and meet significant increases in travel demand while contributing to our national policy of a low-carbon economy.
We will see a decisive shift away from polluting and carbon-intensive propulsion systems and investment in public transport will include the Metro Link in Dublin, priority elements of
DART expansion, and BusConnects programme to overhaul the current bus system in Ireland's cities.
A competitive, innovative and resilient enterprise base is essential to provide the jobs and employment opportunities for people to live and prosper in all regions.
An extra 660,000 people are expected to be employed in Ireland by 2040. The goal is to achieve sustainable full employment, to bring unemployment rates in all regions down to within 1% of the national average, and to achieve regional productivity convergence.
A €500m Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund will drive collaboration between the research, education and enterprise sectors.
Ports and airports
Continued investment in our ports and airports is crucial, particularly in the post-Brexit environment. There will be a particular focus on cooperation and joint development of border areas that open up potential for an all-island economy.
Key actions for international connectivity will include a new runway for Dublin Airport, continued development of Cork and Shannon Airports, investment in Ireland West Airport Knock, and for smaller airports under the Regional Airports Programme.
There will also be major development of Dublin, Cork, Shannon-Foynes and other ports, as well as investment in transport connectivity to ports.
Cultural and creative facilities
The ambition outlined in the Creative Ireland Programme will be pursued and supported with targeted investment.
A key action will be a major national cultural infrastructure plan for the next ten years, ensuring that all major urban centres as well as smaller towns have cultural and creativity facilities that support the aims and ambitions of the Creative Ireland Programme.
There will also be investment through the Sport Capital Programme in the coming years.
The capital investment priorities will represent a step-change in Ireland's delivery climate-action objectives, providing a significant reduction in carbon emissions over the period to 2030.
Investment priorities will include upgrading of 45,000 homes per annum from 2021, an additional 3,000-4,500 MW of renewable energy, full rollout of the Renewable Heat Support Scheme, transition to low emission, including electric buses for the urban bus fleet, and a target of just under half of our vehicle fleet to be fully electric.
Among the major infrastructural projects over the next ten years will be the north-south and the Celtic interconnectors, the conversion of Moneypoint to electricity and continued development of gas infrastructure to support regional and rural development.
A €500m Climate Action Fund will leverage further investment by public and private bodies, with a strong focus on interventions in the transport sector.
Investment in water infrastructure is critical to our environmental and economic wellbeing into the future.
Water and wastewater projects will be speedily progressed across the country. A major priority is a new water supply source for the Eastern and Midland Region.
Childcare, education and health services
Access to quality primary education, health services and childcare, relative to the scale of a region, city, town, neighbourhood or community is a defining characteristic of attractive, successful and competitive places.
Good public policy choices in education over the past 50 years have allowed us to achieve a position of prosperity in the information age. We are now moving into a different age - an age of widespread automation, robotics and artificial intelligence - when new policy choices will call for new investment priorities.
Knowledge and specialist expertise will continue to be important in the new economy but even more important will be the ability to apply that knowledge and expertise in previously unimagined ways: to be creative and inventive, to solve problems, to work collaboratively and experimentally, to think conceptually and imaginatively.
Immediate actions in education, to respond to a growing population, will include 50 large scale schools projects annually to 2021 with an additional 15,000 school places annually, expansion of capacity across the Institutes of Technology, increases in post graduate and post-doctoral provision, and sustained capital investment across the school system responding to curriculum change and technological developments.
A major programme of investment in health infrastructure will be guided by a recognition that that the best health outcomes can be achieved by reorienting our health services towards primary and community care where people's health needs can for the most part be met locally, with high quality acute and emergency care provided in the appropriate acute hospital settings. This will include completion of national hospital projects already underway, as well as