Ministers Donohoe & Murphy update Cabinet on National Planning Framework & future plans for capital investment

19th July, 2017

Strategic planning for increased capital expenditure will help meet the needs of our growing economy in a sustainable and affordable way


Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD; and Minister for Housing, Planning & Local Government, Eoghan Murphy TD, today (Wednesday) updated Cabinet on the National Planning Framework and the development of a sustainable long-term capital plan for investment.


Both Ministers told their Cabinet colleagues that the right investments in right places would unlock major future economic potential, stressing the fact that a high-level national framework to shape and co-ordinate future investment, would ensure economic recovery continues long-term.


The National Planning Framework (NPF), which is being progressed by Minister Murphy will be a long-term strategy to underpin a new ten year Capital Plan, which Minister Donohoe is leading.  Both the NPF and Capital Plan will be prepared in tandem to ensure that public investment is co-ordinated and that infrastructure is provided where and when it is required. This approach will ensure maximum benefit and signal certainty and confidence that will assist in leveraging additional investment into Ireland.


Minister Donohoe set how economic recovery is enabling the allocation of a realistic and sustainable level of capital spend, saying: ‘In the wake of Ireland’s fiscal crisis, capital expenditure had declined to significantly below international benchmarks to €4.3 billion in 2015. It However, reflecting the restoration in the public finances and on the basis of the additional allocation of €1.5 billion in the Summer Economic Statement, we now plan to increase public capital expenditure by over 80% by 2021 to €7.8 billion This means Ireland will be above the long-term EU15 average of 3% of GDP by 2021, and finally getting back to where we need to be’.


Minister Murphy emphasised how a co-ordinated approach to planning and infrastructure will enable us to respond to the needs of our changing society, saying: ‘It is expected that the population will grow by one million people to 20140, with the number of jobs increasing by 660,000 across that time. We will also see the number of people aged over 65 is set to more than double’.


“Key to the NPF is that it will have a strategic, national focus. In planning for the future it is essential that Dublin can continue to be successful, while, at the same time allowing other places to experience significant growth too.  To achieve this, my Department is finalising a draft Framework for public consultation in the early autumn.”


Minister Donohoe concluded by saying: ‘The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is finalising a detailed review of progress and priorities under the current Capital Plan, providing evidence and analysis for future decisions on capital allocations in Budget 2018 and for the long-term Capital Plan.  A major priority will be to integrate the Capital Plan with the forthcoming National Planning Framework to ensure there is a sustainable basis for future population, employment and economic growth on a balanced regional basis.  This report will form the basis of a round of stakeholder consultation in September’.


“Integration of this kind, with the NPF and the Capital Plan being aligned, will provide a strong strategic focus to future investment decisions and will be focused on building regional cities as growth engines to complement broader regional strategy. This approach will also draw on the forthcoming recommendations of the IMF PIMA review of Ireland, ensuring that management of capital resources is informed by the latest international practice.”
It is intended that both documents will be finalised by the end of 2017.

*Capital investment achievements to date include:

  • Luas Cross City project remains on target for completion in 2017.
  • In 2016, 50 large-scale primary and post primary school projects were completed.
  • The new Emergency Department at Limerick University Hospital has been completed and opened on 29th May 2017.
  • Primary care centres were delivered at nine locations in 2016.  Up to 14 centres (including the 6 PPP locations) will be delivered in 2017.
  • In 2016, 665 new units were constructed and 1,960 units were acquired for social housing purposes.
  • Work on three Garda divisional headquarters in Dublin (Kevin Street), Galway City and Wexford Town is expected to be completed in 2017.
  • The redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh.