An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar and the Government today launched a €116 billion plan to re-imagine Ireland and prepare for the future following a special Cabinet meeting at the Institute of Technology in Sligo.
In front of an audience of college students, the Cabinet unveiled Project Ireland 2040 which aims to build their Ireland of tomorrow, and prepare for a future society which will have an extra one million people, and 660,000 more people at work.
Project Ireland 2040 aims to Brexit-proof Ireland by investing in the future with a particular focus on the Border Regions. The Government claims the project will take a radically different approach to future planning by focusing not just on bricks and mortar, but on social, economic and cultural development.
An Taoiseach claims three quarters of new growth will be outside Dublin, with 50% of the projected population growth planned for towns, villages and rural areas and 50% for cities.
It includes four new funds designed to stimulate renewal and investment in rural and urban areas, the environment and innovation:
€2 billion Urban Regeneration and Development Fund;
€1 billion Rural Development Fund;
€500 million Climate Action Fund;
€500 Disruptive Technologies Fund.
There is also a significant focus on the environment with €22 billion allocated to tackling and dealing with climate change across transport, energy and commercial State agencies.
Speaking today, An Taoiseach 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."
He added, "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."