New figures released under a Freedom of Information request show that there are just 10 planners and one economist to set population targets for over 1 million people across every town and village in the entire country.

The data obtained by Fianna Fáil’s Housing Spokesperson Darragh O’Brien has revealed there are just nine planners working on critical regional planning guidelines across the country.

The Regional plans set out population targets for each town and village across the country. They are responsible for implementing the aims and objectives of the National Planning Framework.

Deputy O’Brien said, “The FOI data I have complied shows that there are three planners in two of the regional assemblies and 4 in the other.

“The 3 assemblies also share one economist. The assemblies are not directly elected and were originally established by Fine Gael in 2014. The plans will be setting out where exactly the anticipated one million extra people in Ireland will live and work by 2040.They set out population targets for each area in the country.

“The FOI figures reveal the complete lack of substance behind the spin. Project 2040 was dominated by the Government’s €5m spin unit declaring it was the cornerstone of our future development. However, the fact that the regional assemblies are so under resourced completely undermines this.

“An unelected assembly with little resources will now set out how much any town or village in the country can grow by. These plans are an essential piece of the puzzle but have been completely ignored by the Government. Instead they launched a document last February to great fanfare without little to back it up.

“I have raised this directly with Minister Murphy but he continues to insist that there are no resource issues. However, given the fact that just 3 planners are setting out the future of the Eastern region and its 2 million people for the next two decades is clearly nonsense.

“I am seriously concerned these plans will undermine the lofty goals set under the National Planning framework and lead to serious planning problems in the future. It’s time for a review of the resources and democratic mandate of the assemblies in light of this new information,” concluded Deputy O’Brien.