Longford Leader Comment: Delivery is vital

Longford Leader

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Longford Leader

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Ireland 2040

There are hopes this week that the Government is to revise its 20 year blueprint for the country by announcing the proposed upgrade of the N4.

Optics is a term we have often heard bandied about in the corridors of power.

It's a metaphor that perhaps accurately sums up the events of last Friday courtesy of the Government's €116bn 'Project Ireland 2040' launch.

The plan, as had been extensively trumpeted, contained the infrastructural trappings so many of our local politicians and business chieftains had been crying out for-the long awaited upgrade of the N4 from Mullingar to Longford.

At an estimated cost of €460m, there's no denying the likely impact it will bring.

It will shorten journey times considerably from Longford to Dublin while aesthetically, at least, making the county more advantagous for inward investment.

The county, it has been affirmed, will procure the economic fruits that are expected to come Athlone's way after it was positioned as a special growth centre under the plan.

They are, of course, all aspirational forecasts at this stage.

Yes, moves to address Longford's infrasturaral deficit are to be welcomed but what many have overlooked is the fact that this is a document that's not expected to be realised until more than two decades from now.

What's more, the plan, despite all of its bold promises, made little or no reference to the proposed 'multi-million euro' upgrade of St Joseph's Care Centre.

This, despite three new centres for elective surgeries and 2,600 acute hospital beds being pledged.

A further hesitation to bear in mind is the less than exexemplary track record this country has in meeting its targets.

Newly released figures show the Government last year failed to meet its social housing targets, building just 2,245 new homes of the 2,424 promised.

Throw in similar disappointments surrounding recent acceptances that we are likely to miss our 2020 emissions target and delays over our long awaited National Broadband Plan and suddenly rhetoric concerning 'plans' and 'visions for our future' don't entirely hold the robust political clout they otherwise should.

Optics are fine, so too our multi-billion euro strategies, it's delivery taxpayers want.

Nothing less will suffice.

Read next:

Sky's the limit for Longford as town centre set for multi-million euro facelift

'Today the people of Longford won'-wholesale approval at unveiling of Project Ireland 2040

Longford has been 'left out in the wilderness' by lack of reference to St Joseph's in Project Ireland 2040