Fine Gael Deputy for Longford-Westmeath, Peter Burke, is encouraging people in Athlone and across Westmeath to have their say on a new National Plan for Ireland.
‘Ireland 2040 – Our Plan’, the new National Planning Framework was launched last Thursday by the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Simon Coveney, and the Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
“Today sees the launch of a major national consultation 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 urge people across urban and rural locations all across Athlone and Westmeath to get involved and have their say on behalf of their communities and the county they know and love,” Deputy Burke said.
“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 one 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.
“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.”
Deputy Burke is encouraging people to visit www.ireland2040.ie where they can make a 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 prior to the summer.
“There will also be a series of regional consultations which I hope Westmeath people will attend to have their say. I will continue to keep local people informed about opportunities for them to contribute to this plan,” Deputy Burke concluded.