Fianna Fáil TD for Wexford James Browne says the Government must ensure that the forthcoming National Planning Framework allows the South-East to reach its full economic and social potential.
Deputy Browne said, “I’m concerned by the fact that much of the commentary surrounding the NPF to date has focused on either Dublin or the North-West of Ireland. There has been very little discussion about the South-East and the necessity to progress a number of important infrastructural projects in the region.
“The Government must ensure that a plan of action is set out in the NPF for Rosslare Europort. We need to see the capabilities of the port expand in the coming years, particularly now that Ireland needs to develop new trade links post-Brexit. The Government has failed to deal with CIE’s failure to invest in Rosslare Europort to allow it reach its full potential. They have the opportunity to address this with the NPF. They need to seize upon this opportunity.
“The South-East also needs to see significant investment in its communications infrastructure. The Government’s failure to deliver high speed broadband to date, particularly in rural communities, is holding the South-East and Wexford back. This growing digital divide needs to be reversed.
“Significant investment in transport infrastructure is needed in the years ahead. The Government needs to deliver on its commitment to extend the M11 motorway linking Belfast to Dublin onto Rosslare Europort. We also need to see development of the N24 Waterford to Limerick route linking the West to the South-East. The N80 needs to be upgraded to full national primary route standard which will link the M11 and Carlow to the M9, M7 and M6.
“The rail line between Rosslare Europort and Dublin must also be protected and enhanced. Under no circumstance should this line be allowed to be closed or downgraded in any shape or form. We need to see investment in new carriages and more frequent services and the development of freight.
“The NPF must also set out a plan for investment in the much delayed Technological University for the South-East. There should also be a focus on developing our mental health services as they are currently unable to cope with demand.
“Dublin is already bursting at the seams due to a rapid increase in population. The Government has the opportunity to alleviate the housing crisis by investing in the South-East through the NPF, to allow families to live in their own communities. The Government should seize this opportunity and ensure that the South-East receives its fair share of investment.”