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largest ever NDP All major roads get go-ahead in €165bn programme despite Green opposition

It is understood the plan will include a commitment to Dublin’s MetroLink’

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Photo: PA

Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Photo: PA

Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Photo: PA

The Government’s €165bn National Development Plan (NDP) launched today has retained all the major road projects promised under the last NDP in 2018 – despite opposition from the Green Party.

The Coalition’s plan for the next 10 years of capital infrastructure spending will be contained in the 180-page document.

At €165bn, the largest ever NDP will cost €49bn more than the last one, covering large projects including transport, housing, schools, hospitals and power.

It is understood Green leader and environment and transport minister Eamon Ryan secured a €35bn slice of the total NDP budget in the negotiations, with a 2:1 split between public transport infrastructure, and road building and maintenance.

However, the Sunday World understands that every road project promised under the last plan four years ago, also made it into the new programme – including the M20 Cork to Limerick motorway, the Galway Ring Road, and the N5 Westport to Turlough route.

It is understood the plan will include a commitment to Dublin’s MetroLink underground railway line to Dublin Airport, which was also in the 2018 NDP, but which has now been delayed to at least 2034.

It comes as the Government’s Climate Action Plan next month is expected to contain a range of higher taxes, more tolls, parking restrictions and congestion charges for motorists as the country seeks to reduce journeys by petrol and diesel cars by 25pc by 2030 as part of its climate action commitments.

The 2022 NDP has a new green focus and will be divided into seven headings: climate mitigation, climate adaptation, water, air, waste, nature and ‘Just Transition’.

Each project’s effect on the environment in terms of carbon emissions was central in “intense” and “robust” negotiations, which saw Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael at odds with the Green Party over the inclusion of road projects.

An update on 210 projects from Project Ireland 2040 will also be published alongside the NDP.

Integral to the plan will be a massive ramping up of Ireland’s house-building programme, in particular the provision of social and affordable homes, with a target of 54,000 affordable homes delivered by 2030. The NDP will also aim to tackle Ireland’s Dublin-focused growth.

Cork will be the major beneficiary, with support for Leeside’s aim of delivering population growth of 55pc by 2040 including development of the city’s docklands, Ringaskiddy Port motorway, the M20, new bridges and public transport expansion.

In order to provide more transparency around project timelines, the plan will include a regularly updated interactive map allowing the public to check on projects in their local area to find out how far they have progressed
and when they will be completed.

This is aimed at providing improved transparency amid criticism of projects such as the National Children’s Hospital and new rail lines being delivered late and over budget, or not at all.

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A user-friendly interactive map will allow the public to see the latest updates on 900 public-investment projects all over the country.

The public will be able to see the latest updates on projects such as schools and social housing developments in their areas to monitor progress.

The virtual MyProjectIreland map will include information on when projects are expected to be completed and is aimed to be “citizen focused”, according to a senior source.

The Investment Projects and Programmes Tracker will also provide dates for when construction will begin and be completed for major projects of more than €20m.

While 133 projects included in the update are worth €20m to €50m, four are worth €500m to €1bn and seven major projects are worth more than €1bn.

According to a senior source, the updates on how taxpayers’ money is being spent will be an attempt at greater transparency to make the NDP “more real-world”.

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