Minister Donohoe updates Cabinet on the ongoing delivery of Project Ireland 2040

19th September, 2018


Cabinet recently discussed the ongoing delivery of Project Ireland 2040 and in particular the updated Investment Projects and Programmes Tracker, which is being published on the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform website today (Wednesday). The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, informed his Cabinet colleagues of the work of the Project Ireland 2040 Delivery Board, and updated cabinet on initial priorities as well as giving an update on the Tracker, which clearly sets out the details of the investments to be funded under the National Development Plan.
Project Ireland 2040 – the National Development Plan (NDP) and the National Planning Framework – was launched by the Government on Friday 16 February in Sligo. The NDP sets out a 10 year vision for Ireland’s public capital infrastructure priorities over the next 10 years strictly aligned with the National Strategic Outcomes for Ireland’s new spatial strategy contained in the NPF.
Minister Donohoe said: ‘At cabinet I updated my colleagues on the ongoing implementation of Project Ireland 2040 which has continued apace since the plan’s launch earlier this year. Of particular note was the updated, improved and expanded Investment Project and Programme Tracker, which is ready for publication, the opening of the four NDP Funds to applications for funding in 2019 and the ongoing work of the Project Ireland 2040 Delivery Board’.
“The Delivery Board has identified a number of important initial priorities which have now seen significant progress. These include: improving information flows for project monitoring, establishing a Land Development Agency, establishing a Construction Sector Group and progressing the four funds. Addressing these issues will ensure that projects outlined in the National Development Plan can be delivered on time and on budget and that the objectives set out in the National Planning Framework are achieved on a value for money basis.
“In relation to the four funds, I believe they will play a very important role in addressing the challenges identified in the National Planning Framework, such as the development of housing within the cities identified and the strengthening of our rural economies and communities.
“I am very encouraged by the progress we are making in terms of scaling up our infrastructure investment. We delivered a number of major projects last year such as the M17/M18 Gort to Tuam Motorway, the Luas Cross City and a new Emergency Department in University Hospital Limerick. In 2018 a further 50 major projects are being progressed through the pipeline. The Government’s focus on the delivery of Project Ireland 2040 means that projects such as these, as well as broader investment in housing, health, transport, broadband etc., will continue to be delivered over the coming period but in a quicker and more efficient manner.”
Notes for Editors

Areas of progress
Establishment of the Investment Projects and Programmes Office
• The Investment Projects and Programmes Office has now been established in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and will continue to expand over the coming period.
• Its primary role is to develop cross-sectoral dialogue on infrastructure, including the identification of national priorities, and drive value-for-money reforms in relation to areas such as project appraisal and selection

The Investment Projects and Programmes Tracker
The initial version of the Government’s ‘Capital Tracker’ was published in Autumn 2017. That version provided basic information on the main Exchequer-funded investment projects and programmes planned for delivery under the Government’s 2015 Capital Plan: Building on Recovery – some 116 projects and programmes. The September 2018 enhanced version represents a much expanded and improved inventory of the medium-term pipeline of public capital investment that is now planned for delivery under the NDP.
This version includes the following improvements:

  • Expansion of the range of projects and programmes listed to over 260 entries.
    • Investment projects and programmes are linked in each case to the relevant National Strategic Objective as set out in Project Ireland 2040.
  • The tracker will today be published as a spreadsheet which is interactive, sortable and more user-friendly.
    • For each project, the tracker indicates the stage it is at in the project life-cycle, e.g. Stage 1 pre-appraisal, Stage 5 Implementation.
  • An accompanying Overview and Analysis Paper has been prepared. This provides a high-level analysis of the key trends and messages arising from the project and programme level data. The paper is appended to this Memorandum.
  • The next update of the tracker will be published in Q1 2019 and will be further enhanced to include: yearly cost profiles for projects and programmes; information on project delays/cost inflation/design changes; as well as the capital investments of the semi-state sector e.g. Airports, Ports, Universities, Energy Infrastructure.

The Project Ireland 2040 Delivery Board
As committed to in the NDP, a high-level Project Ireland 2040 Delivery Board has been established, comprising top officials from relevant Departments and Agencies, jointly chaired by the Secretaries-General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (DHPLG), to provide strategic direction and leadership to the NDP and NPF implementation process. The Delivery Board will monitor and oversee implementation structures and performance across the various sector to ensure a co-ordinated and collaborative whole of Government approach to NDP and NPF delivery.

  • The delivery board has now met three times since its first meeting in May.
    • The board has focused on ensuring immediate progress has been made on the implementation of NDP and the developments outlined, such as the Capital Tracker.

Construction Sector Group

Following the launch of the National Development Plan in February 2018, a Construction Sector Group (CSG), chaired by DPER, has been established. The role of the CSG is to ensure regular and open dialogue between Government and the construction sector in relation to issues that may impact on the successful delivery of the NDP on a value-for-money basis for the State.
The CSG brings together both key industry segments and relevant representatives from key Government Agencies and Departments. The industry bodies represented are:

  • Construction Industry Federation
  • Irish Congress for Trade Unions
  • Building Materials Federation
  • Engineers Ireland
  • Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland
  • Royal Institute of the Architecture of Ireland
  • Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland
  • Irish Planning Institute

A work programme will be developed to set the agenda over the next 18-24 months. The production of a Construction Sector Activity Report will be an important source of evidence to inform discussion of the CSG.

Four Funds – Rural, Urban, Technology and Climate Action Funds
A major innovation in the reformed funding model for the National Development Plan is the establishment of four funds to drive the delivery of specific core priorities detailed in the NPF. The four funds, which will be allocated resources amounting to an estimated €4 billion over the 10-year period of the National Department Plan, are:

Rural Regeneration and Development Fund: €1 billion, under the Department of Rural and Community Development, will promote rural renewal in order to enable towns, villages and outlying rural areas to grow sustainably and support delivery of the strategic objectives of the NPF.
Urban Regeneration and Development Fund: €2 billion, under the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government will support the co-development of the NPF’s growth enablers for the five cities (Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford) and other large urban centres. Examples of projects that have the potential to receive support under the Fund would include the development of the Cork Docklands (City Docks and Tivoli and associated mobility and bridge access), the Limerick 2030 initiative, the Waterford North Quays SDZ regeneration project, the plans for Galway City Centre regeneration, and the Portlaoise urban design and renewal initiative.

Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund: €500 million, under the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation; and

Climate Action Fund: €500 million, under the Department of Communications Climate Action and Environment.
• The four funds are now open to submissions.

  • The relevant Departments will be expected to make announcements on progress in relation to the use of the 2019 allocation shortly.


Project Ireland 2040 comprises two parts:
The new National Planning Framework shapes future growth and development of Ireland to the year 2040, by guiding public and private investment, creating opportunities for people, and enhancing our environment; And the new ten-year National Development Plan, which underpins the Planning Framework with €116 billion worth of investment.

Funding the Investment
Project Ireland 2040 involves investment in infrastructure of almost €116 billion in the ten years to 2027. This combines €91 billion directly from the Exchequer, as well as nearly €25 billion by State-owned commercial companies. This includes a 25% increase in capital expenditure in 2019.
At this point in time it is intended that the capital expenditure envelope included in the National Development Plan will be funded by increases in General Government Revenue brought about by the projected growth in the economy. Accordingly, tax increases will not be required to fund the NDP. It is also important to state that this approach is fully in line with the fiscal rules based on current forecasts out to 2021 and the prudent growth assumptions used thereafter.
Public capital investment will therefore move from relatively low levels following the economic crisis, to being amongst the highest in the EU (as a percentage of national income and as a percentage of Government expenditure). This will allow us respond to the obvious deficits in our infrastructure, as well as the needs of a fast-growing population.
The average capital investment in the EU over the last twenty years was in the region of 3% of national income. Under the National Development Plan it is projected that public capital investment will reach 3.5% of national income (GNI*) in 2019 and 4% by 2024, with sustained investment averaging 4% on an annual basis over the period 2022 to 2027.
This increased investment is being done in a prudent and measured way. It takes account of the external uncertainties facing the Irish economy, as well as the risks of overheating.

Ten Strategic Outcomes of Project Ireland 2040:
Project Ireland 2040 seeks to achieve ten strategic outcomes, building around the themes of wellbeing, equality and opportunity. These ten shared priorities will ensure a consistent approach between planning objectives under the National Planning Framework and investment commitments under the National Development Plan.

  1. Compact Growth
  2. Enhanced Regional Accessibility
  3. Strengthened Rural Economies and Communities
  4. Sustainable Mobility
  5. A Strong Economy, supported by Enterprise, Innovation and Skills
  6. High-Quality International Connectivity
  7. Enhanced Amenity and Heritage
  8. Transition to a Low Carbon and Climate Resilient Society
  9. Sustainable Management of Water and other Environmental Resources
  10. Access to Quality Childcare, Education and Health Services