Fine Gael TD for Longford/Westmeath Peter Burke is encouraging people in Longford town and rural Longford to have their say on a new National Plan for Ireland.
“Ireland 2040 – Our Plan”, the new National Planning Framework was launched by the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Simon Coveney and the Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
Deputy Burke said, “This major national consultation is designed to find out how we want our country to look by 2040. Fine Gael in Government is planning ahead for our country’s long term development and success. I strongly people across urban and rural locations all across Longford to get involved and have their say on behalf of their communities and the county they know and love.
“We can all see, and have had to live with the legacy of previous bad planning. This is the first time a Government has planned 20 years ahead like this. We must deal with the challenges and opportunities brought about by the fact that our population is forecast to increase by 1 million by 2040, more than a fifth of whom will be over 65. We will have 500,000 additional people at work here and a need for at least 500,000 extra homes close to services and amenities. This is a huge challenge, and the planning needs to happen now.
“We cannot continue the type of unbalanced development that has seen major growth only in the Dublin area and in the east. We need strong well developed cities across the country providing regional balance, encouraging people to live and work outside of Dublin. I will be fighting hard to bring more investment to the midlands and our county, which has been neglected hugely in the past. There are areas of Longford that need investment, and the north of the county cannot be left behind at a time when there is more funding being announced as a result of Center Parcs Longford Forest.
“I encourage everyone interested in this to check out www.ireland2040.ie , where you can make an initial submission between now and March 16. A draft plan will be published and the public will be given an opportunity to have their say again at that stage prior to the summer. There will also be a series of regional consultations which I hope Longford people will attend to have their say. I will continue to keep local people informed about opportunities for them to contribute to this plan.”