A new by-pass for the town of Virginia is one of the key projects identified in the new National Development Plan, writes Áine Conaty.
The Virginia by-pass was among a number of key infrastructural projects to be unveiled by the government in Sligo today as part of 'Project Ireland 2040'.
The Government is set to spend €4.5 billion on regional roads as part of the plan in order to improve access to rural areas.
Cavan Fine Gael Senator Joe O’Reilly has welcomed the development. “I am pleased with the inclusion of this vital piece of road infrastructure in the National Development Plan, and also with the fact the Virginia by-pass is being earmarked as a priority project for delivery.”
Referencing the level of congestion in the east Cavan Town at peak times, Senator O'Reilly said that the by-pass will ease that and reduce journey times. “Furthermore, a by-pass of Virginia is needed to reduce the levels of traffic, which go through the town, in order to ensure children, and all pedestrians are safer in our local community,” he remarked.
Planning for the by-pass will begin in early 2018 and will be prioritised by the new National Development plan.
The National Planning Framework, which forms part of Project Ireland 2040, sets out how Ireland can grow in a sustainable, balanced fashion over the next 20 years. Population is projected to grow by up to 50% over the lifetime of the plan. Project Ireland 2040 is backed and supported up by a €115bn National Development Plan.
“Our population is expected to have increased to 6 million people by 2040 and, without any State intervention, this will result in ongoing shift in population and jobs towards Dublin and the neighbouring counties. This is not in anyone’s interests," remarked Senator O'Reilly.
As part of the plan, between now and 2021, approximately 2,000 additional social homes will be built across the Border region.
The day unit and ward at Cavan General Hospital is also to be upgraded.
The Industrial Development Authority (IDA) has been charged with acquiring more properties to bring jobs into Cavan.
A new €300m loan fund can be accessed by our local businesses, new PE facilities are to be installed in local secondary schools and there is also €100m for Sport Capital Grants over the next four years.
“This sustainable planning for Cavan, backed by real investment, will support families and strengthen communities here. With Project Ireland 2040, Fine Gael is ensuring sustainable growth for the future of Cavan What’s good for Cavan is also good for the surrounding region,” Senator, Joe O’Reilly said.
At the launch in Sligo Institute of Technology (IT), An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, 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. 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.”
On a national level, the plan includes:
* €1bn for regeneration of villages with population of less than 10,000 people
* Roads budget of €4.5bn has been allocated for regional and local roads
* Government plans to invest billions in a Metro in Dublin
* Cork is set for a light rail system and a major redevelopment of the docklands
* Limerick will finally be connected to Cork by the M20 motorway
* Three new centres for elective surgeries to be built in Dublin, Cork and Galway
* Ninety State nursing homes are to receive money for refurbishments
* No NCTs will be issued for non-zero emission cars post 2045
* New body to be tasked with driving development on State-owned lands
- For reaction to the plan and further analysis, see next week's Anglo Celt