Micheál Martin: Government's National Development Plan is "a cynical exercise in some respects"

The Fianna Fáil has called for a "greater degree of critical analysis" of the measures announced last Friday

Micheál Martin: Government's National Development Plan is "a cynical exercise in some respects"

Micheal Martin. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

The Fianna Fáil leader has described the launch of the National Development Plan as a cynical measure.

The plan pledges that €116 billion will be spent on capital projects over the next decade - with project ranging from large investments in areas such as hospitals and roads, to significant commitments for tackling climate change.

It was unveiled in Sligo last Friday along with the National Planning Framework, which sets out the Government's vision for the country for the next 20 years.

Micheál Martin has questioned the Government's motive behind the launch of the 'Ireland 2040' plan - although stressed it was important to separate the two elements of the plan.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Deputy Martin argued: "If you take the National Development Plan first, which is the various projects, there's a large element of a political wheeze there. It's a cynical exercise in some respects. 

"An awful lot of the projects are re-announcements of projects that have been announced four years ago, five years ago and so on. Other aspects of the plan represent a repackaging of normal, expected expenditure growth over the next ten years."

He added: "People need to stand back now and apply a greater degree of critical analysis to this than what has been going on, in terms of the massive packaging...

"I mean, it was an extraordinary event last Friday. The amount of money that is going spent now in newspaper advertisements and all of that [will be] promoting the Government as opposed to the issues."

He suggested that the 'vast majority' of projects had been announced already, such as the N28 (Cork to Ringaskiddy Road) and the Macroom bypass.

"The N28 has gone through an oral planning already, so the people in the area know all about it - they don't need more expensive ads to tell them about it," Deputy Martin argued.