Opposition TDs call for Dáil vote on Ireland 2040 plan

The Taoiseach insists that only a draft of the National Planning Framework needs to be put before the Oireachtas

Opposition TDs call for Dáil vote on Ireland 2040 plan

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Opposition TDs are calling for a Dáil vote on the new National Planning Framework.

They are accusing the Taoiseach of rushing the announcement to avoid having to be accountable to the Oireachtas.

The plan, which will outline the development of the country up to 2040, is to be launched in Sligo on Friday.

Opposition parties suggest that a bill due to be passed in the next week or two would force a vote on the plan, and that the Government's launch this week is deliberately timed to avoid that.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin says it is another case of ministers looking after their own back yards.

He argued: "Proper planning is to be undermined by the intervention of ministers with the sharpest elbows.

"Minister [Kevin] Boxer Moran gets to announce a new capital for the midlands; Sligo and Athlone have been promoted to the Champion's League as regional capitals; Letterkenny, Dundalk and Drogheda are to be given some scraps as so-called 'designated centres of growth'."

Despite heavy opposition from representatives of other parties today, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said there is no need for a Dáil vote on the plan.

He insisted that only a draft version of the plan needed to be put before the Oireachtas, which he says happened last November.

He claimed that the opposition is 'terrified' of a plan that he describes as "a real vision for the country of the future".

He noted that the plan will include investment in roads, railways, schools, hospitals and health care - as well as a "huge package" on climate change.

A coalition of cross-party TDs has previously come together to voice their opposition to the draft version of the framework.

They claim it will ‘kill rural Ireland’ and warn the country is at risk of being walked into an irreversible crisis unless drastic changes are made to the plan.

Additional reporting by Stephen McNeice