Sligo Fianna Fail TD, Marc Mac Sharry has condemned the content of the National Planning Framework launched at Sligo IT as a missed opportunity.
Deputy Mac Sharry said, “No Government has ever acknowledged the potential of Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal, North Roscommon and North Mayo and provided strategic planning and resources to support the ingenuity of local people in driving our region”
“We have had the Roads National Needs Study in 1999, The BMW ‘State of the West report’, The National Spatial Strategy, 3 national development plans and now the ‘National Planning Frame Work’. New glossy brochure, very professional stage managed launch but sadly the content of which is set to preserve the status quo and Regional Imbalance long into the future”
“Clearly as a nation we need Dublin and our major cities to perform at optimum levels as primary economic drivers. To achieve this we must address the overcrowding and accept the fact that Dublin and the Eastern Conurbation is beyond capacity and is badly in need of respite to facilitate this. If this is to be successful we must provide adequate access infrastructure to allow north of what appears to be the impermeable Dublin Galway line and west of Mullingar to assist.
"This plan while rehashing the rehashed takes a piece meal approach to this which will once again leave us playing catch up while Dublin and our major cities struggle with congestion, overcrowding, rising rents and property prices and transport infrastructure that is creaking”It’s worth noting some of what the plan includes for us:
N4 Collooney Castlebaldwin - announced umpteen times before
Garavogue Bridge - announced umpteen times before
Western Distributor Road - announced umpteen times before
University of Technology - announced umpteen times before
Sligo Hospital Extension - announced umpteen times before
(No Mention of Cat Lab - announced umpteen times before)
“To add insult to injury the €5m Leo Varadkar spin unit have come up with a new term: It’s called ‘Pre Appraisal & Early Planning’. That’s the euphemistic term allocated to some of the projects that should have been front loaded in this plan such as Motor Way from Longford to Mullingar, Motorway from Collooney to Ireland West Airport at Knock and the Carrick on Shannon by pass. Sure they are mentioned in the plan but in political speak this new term of “Pre Appraisal and Early Planning” really means ‘ on the never never."'Cursory mention'
"The Sligo based TD continued, “Incredibly, there is no mention in the Plan of cross boarder connectivity with the long awaited upgrade to the N16 to Enniskillen. Brexit beckons but the Fine Gael response has been to remove the N16 from national plans altogether. The 1999 National Roads Needs Study mentioned earlier outlined a total upgrade to be finished by 2015 – 3 years ago.
"All that’s happened since is Fine Gael took it out of Nationally Planning altogether. Similarly no mention of the N15 for North Sligo and South Donegal. No Mention of the N59. Even at the other side of the country the much needed A5 to connect the East Coast through Tyrone to Donegal is given only a cursory mention in terms of what is referred to as ‘ the first part of the A5.
"Governments of all colours over the years have failed miserably to address the fact that as a nation we are using only 65% of our capacity. While none of us are bound to support or repeat the mistakes of the past it is surely reasonable to learn from them. Fine Gael proved last Friday they have not. We have so much potential as a region and our people’s ingenuity drive and entrepreneurship yearns for any Government of whatever make up to provide us with the access services we need to perform to our potential and give overflow options to our major cities not least contribute to driving the economic success of all our Country.
Agriculture and Tourism are barely mentioned in the plan despite the incredible potential both industries have to drive and grow our economy. It’s great that the Cabinet decamped to Sligo and they are welcome anytime but to use our region as a location for the ‘super launch’ is no consolation for the ineptitude and repetition which this plan promotes when it comes to the absence of strategic vision and resources to enable our Country to perform to capacity including the North West”
Deputy Mac Sharry concluded saying “ 10 out of 10 for Optics Taoiseach but all that is certain is Sligo and the Northwest are still on the never never! Here we go again!