Chamber welcomes Project Ireland 2040 as a Basis for Balanced Regional Development

  • Release Date: 16/02/2018
Chamber welcomes Project Ireland 2040 as a Basis for Balanced Regional Development
Friday 16 February: The American Chamber of Commerce Ireland has welcomed the publication of Project Ireland 2040 as a long term strategic framework to guide planning and capital investment strategy for the next two decades.
In particular, the Chamber welcomes the recognition of Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford, Athlone and Sligo as National Centres of Scale. In its submission to the National Planning Framework (NPF) process, the Chamber argued that economic development and renewal should be focused around urban centres of scale, requiring greater urban densification and metro transport capacity.
Outside the principal urban/city regions, the American Chamber believes priority commitment should be given to encourage all towns with existing and successful clusters of exporting businesses. The priority attached to towns such as Letterkenny, Drogheda and Dundalk is welcome.
A major call from the Chamber was for a Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund and it is very welcome to see this established with €500 million in funding. This must now be targeted at tackling national and global challenges.
Speaking about Project Ireland 2040, Mark Redmond, American Chamber CEO said:
“The American Chamber welcomes Project Ireland 2040 as an excellent basis for sustainable long term strategic growth for the country. In our submission to the process, the Chamber argued that Ireland must be recognised internationally as a great place to work and live. We believe the uplift in planning activity and capital investment outlined in Project Ireland 2040 will provide balanced, regional development needed to ensure Ireland remains a transatlantic gateway and the  location of choice for US business investment. 
Notwithstanding the Chamber’s support for several of the strategic recommendations within the Plan, the Chamber believes in the context of Brexit, more measures must be introduced to ensure border counties do not fall behind other regions in terms of overall connectivity.
As well as measures to boost physical and digital connectivity, the Chamber welcomes measures announced to boost STEM and lifelong learning as critical for Ireland’s digital future”
Measures Welcomed by the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland
The Chamber welcomes measures announced to boost physical connectivity including improved access and transport links in Ireland’s regions. In the Midwest and West, the Chamber welcomes connectivity improvements to Limerick and Galway's catchment areas. The Chamber welcomes the delivery of route upgrades and in particular for the Western region, the delivery of the Galway ring road.
In the Northwest, the Chamber welcomes measures to boost accessibility including the repeated commitment to the A5 project. However, the Chamber notes this is contingent with engagement with a Northern Ireland.
The Chamber welcomes measures to boost the digital economy including implementation of National Broadband Plan. Also welcome are measures announced to boost planning and support job creation to promote Ireland as a destination for data centres. The Chamber argued in its submission that Ireland should be positioned as a global centre of excellence for the data economy. The digital strategy for schools is important to embed technology and digital learning in primary and post-primary schools.
The Chamber is disappointed at the lack of a commitment around an advanced manufacture centre of scale. However it welcomes the development of facilities to be located in the Mid-West and resourced with adequate funding of €150 million. The expansion of advanced manufacturing supports across all regions is welcome.
The Chamber welcomes an explicit connection made between housing and Ireland’s ability remain internationally competitive in attracting and retaining talent. The Chamber supports the introduction of future masterplans for housing. The Chamber has argued for a recognition of apartment homes and a professionalised rental sector as a critical part of the housing mix in urban areas.
The Chamber welcomes the governance of Project Ireland 2040 – Our Plan and measures to strengthen the Office of the Planning Regulator. The Chamber believes the Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill provides the right basis for monitoring and review into the future.
The Chamber welcomes measures to safeguard Irelands energy infrastructure including the East-West Interconnector, the Moyle Interconnector and the strengthening of an all-island energy infrastructure and the Celtic Interconnector to France and improve all-island gas pipelines.
The Chamber welcomes the transition to sustainable energy, the North West Strategic European Water Framework, Environmental and Sustainable Goals, and moves to improve water resource management and quality. 
The Chamber strongly argued for better international connectivity and welcomes the commitment to ensuring high quality connectivity across Ireland to airports and ports.

Further information:
Conor Neylon, American Chamber of Commerce 087 754 2475
Páraic Gallagher, Q4 087 8180555