Government launches Project Ireland 2040 The First Year: Annual Report 2018  

2nd May, 2019


  • Major step forward for M20 as technical advisers appointed today
  • 410 school projects with 40,000 extra or replacement school places
  • 11 new Primary Care Centres opening this year on top of 127 completed
  • New online interactive map launched showing projects in your area.                                                   An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar and Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe have marked the first full year of Project Ireland 2040 by announcing a major step forward for the M20 Cork to Limerick motorway.


The Taoiseach and Minister Donohoe were speaking at the launch of the first Annual Report for Project Ireland 2040 in an extension of the Glucksman Library at the University of Limerick, one of the early projects supported by Project Ireland 2040 and providing 1,200 extra study places.


Some €7 billion has been earmarked for investment in projects in 2019 through Project Ireland 2040, with significant progress being made in transport, education, health, and housing.


Some highlights from the first year of Project Ireland 2040 include 11 primary care centres which will open this year on top of the 127 in operation, with another 26 being developed. The 11 are located at:

  • Carrigtwohill
  • Newmarket
  • Tralee
  • Clonakilty
  • Bantry
  • Carrick-on-Shannon/Drumshanbo
  • Limerick City (Castletroy)
  • Kilmallock
  • Shankill
  • Castleisland
  • Bray


Other highlights include:

  • By the end of 2019 some 410 school projects will have been completed providing 40,000 extra or replacement school places, 200 modern science labs, 48 new or upgraded PE halls and replacing 600 prefabs;
  • Construction has started on the new quads at Grangegorman for the Technological University Dublin;
  • Work is ahead of schedule on the National Indoor Arena ensuring that Ireland’s sporting bodies, high performance athletes and the general public have the best facility for indoor sport and events;
  • The Forensic Science Laboratory is due to open this year;
  • 47 projects were delivered in arts centres, galleries and creative spaces around the country in 2018.


An Taoiseach said: “This first annual report shows that Project Ireland 2040 is happening now, in every county, nationwide. Work is underway on a number of long-promised projects, like the upgrade to the N4 in Sligo and the new North Runway at Dublin Airport. For the first time in decades, three new hospitals are under construction and hundreds of new school projects are being delivered across the country.”


“We are linking up our cities and investing in both rural and urban areas to ensure we have more balanced regional development. This year we are ramping up our investment in infrastructure by another 25%; which means more investment in public transport, schools, hospitals and housing. Project Ireland 2040 is happening, and it is changing communities. We have the plan and we are building for the future.”


Minister Donohoe remarked, “In line with the high tech culture here in the University of Limerick, I am proud to reveal MyProjectIreland. Hosted on, the map, and future versions of it, is an easy to navigate tool, which allows everyone to find out what is going on in their town, city, county, province or region. Additionally, we have developed a set of documents called Project Ireland 2040: Region by Region which gives more in-depth information about what has happened to date under the plan and what is yet to come on a region-specific basis. I would encourage everyone who wants to learn more about Project Ireland 2040 to use this one-stop-shop for all the information they need.”


Project Ireland 2040 takes a radically different approach to future planning by focusing not just on bricks and mortar, but on social, economic and cultural development. It links planning and investment for the first time in Irish history, balances rural and urban investment, and will avoid the mistakes of the past.


Significant transport projects include:

  • Technical advisers have been appointed to M20 Cork to Limerick Road which means that economic interaction and inter-relationships between the two cities will be enhanced;
  • Work is underway on the Castlebaldwin to Colooney dual carriageway, and on the western distributor road in Sligo;
  • Projects are due to finish this year at:
    • N11 Gorey – Enniscorthy
    • N25 New Ross bypass
    • Portlaoise Southern Distributor Road
    • The upgrade of the Adamstown and Nangor roads;
  • Work has started on the North Runway at Dublin Airport and the restored runway at Knock will be completed this year;
  • The Maynooth to Athlone section of the Dublin to Galway greenway for walking, cycling, and tourism will be completed this year.


The first allocations have also been made from the €4 billion Project Ireland 2040 funds:

  • 84 projects have been awarded €86m under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund;
  • 88 projects received €101m under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund;
  • €75m was awarded to 27 projects through the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund;
  • €77m was awarded for 7 projects in the first phase of the Climate Action Fund.


Project Ireland sets out to ensure that three quarters of new growth will be outside Dublin, with 50% of the projected population growth planned for our towns, villages and rural areas and 50% for our cities. The annual report shows that 58% of employment in IDA client companies is now outside Dublin, the highest ever level, while 60% of new jobs in Enterprise Ireland client companies were created outside Dublin in the last year.


Progress is also being made in sustainability:

  • 21,350 homes became more energy-efficient;
  • €250m has been allocated for the first priority schemes in flood risk management, with schemes expected to conclude this year in:
    • Bandon
    • Claregalway
    • Dunkellin
    • Ennis Lower
    • Skibbereen
  • 4 new wastewater plants have been completed;
  • 12,000 lead pipe services replaced;
  • And work will start this year on the Cork City water supply scheme.


Also unveiled today was MyProjectIreland, a new citizen-focused interactive map developed in partnership with Ordnance Survey Ireland which allows the user to navigate projects around the country, finding out what is happening in their region. By clicking on, citizens will find a collection of information on what has been achieved in and what is planned for their own local area which may help them to decide where to work, live, study and invest. The map will be revised and updated over the life-time of the plan.


Limerick is one of the five growth cities under Project Ireland 2040, specifically targeted for development under the plan to act as a counter-balance to exclusively Dublin-centric growth.  Limerick has become a leader in the area of regeneration and is an inspiring example to other towns and cities in Ireland.


Audience members at the launch included representatives from the university and neighbouring third level institutions, staff and members of Limerick City and Council as well as neighbouring local authorities who are vital to delivery of Project Ireland 2040 through their Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies, local business leaders, students from nearby Gaelscoil Luimní, faculty and future construction sector leaders from the University’s own BSc in Construction Management and Engineering.


Further information

Project Ireland 2040 is the long-term overarching strategy to make Ireland a better country for all of its people. Representing a new approach to social and economic development, Project Ireland 2040 for the first time unites strategic planning and public investment in one cohesive action plan. By 2040, there will be an extra one million people living in our country. Project Ireland 2040 aims to accommodate this growth in a balanced and sustainable way and put in place the investment required to enable prosperity. In the first year since its launch, Project Ireland 2040 points to clear progress across all its goals including compact growth, enhanced regional accessibility, strengthened rural economies and communities and the transition to a low carbon and climate resilient society.