Claims that National Framework Plan ‘fails’ the rural population

Padraic Joyce: Plan 'fails' rural Ireland.
Padraic Joyce: Plan 'fails' rural Ireland.

THE draft plan to mark out the future of the country between now and 2040 has ‘failed rural Ireland’, according to Connacht IFA Chairman Padraic Joyce.

He said that the National Planning Framework draft released this week was ‘Dublin centred’ and lacked ambition for rural Ireland.

“It does not address the issue of the decline of towns and villages across the length and breadth of rural Ireland,” said Padraic Joyce.

As well as coming up short on that issue, it also failed to rebalance development towards the regions as well as failing to address the issue of the need for rural housing.

The plan, he said, also needed to support community based renewable energy development as part of a programme to develop an ‘alternative to Dublin’ strategy.

“The Government must review the existing draft plan and achieve the rural-proofing of policy they aspire to and deliver a truly national planning framework for the next two decades which is about more than Dublin,” said Padraic Joyce.

He said that the IFA in a submission to Government on the plan had proposed the following measures to address the issue of rural decline:

■ New business start-ups should receive incentives, such as exemptions from rates, for an initial time period and relief from capital gains tax, to encourage innovation and enterprise.

■ Double-tax relief should be provided on rental expenditure for businesses establishing in rural towns and villages.

■ A condition for a valid planning application for an out-of-town development must include an obligation to demonstrate how all scenarios, including locating in the village or town centre, were first considered.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.