Laois must aim for higher status on new national plan to kick start job creation

Consultation starts on a plan to replace national spatial strategy which relegated Portlaoise and other Laois towns to second tier status

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

IDA Business Park Portlaoise.

The people of Laois and their representatives have been given the chance to raise the status of the county nationally so that more jobs can be created to the county.

The Government has invited the public to give their views on 'Ireland 2040 – Our Plan', the new National Planning Framework. It will replace the National Spatial Strategy which saw Laois relegated to the second tier of counties around the country for development.

Under the 2002 National Spatial Strategy, Laois was included in the Midland zone which also included Offaly, Westmeath, Longford. Laois was effectively given secondary status when Portlaoise was not given hub town status. Instead Athlone, Tullamore and Mullingar were chosen as the Midland Gateway Towns.

While Laois' population grew rapidly since, economic development and job growth has not kept pace. An example of this is the Laois has the fewest number of IDA jobs in Ireland.

Speaking at the launch of the consultation the Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Government will not make the same mistakes that were made with the last Spatial Strategy. 

Mr Kenny said in the last spatial strategy 20 spatial towns were named, towns were placed against towns, politics against politics and not one of the towns involved is presently in the top 20 growing Irish towns. 

"We're not going there this time," the Taoiseach said. 

Mr Kenny also said if governments do not listen to people strange things can happen referring to the Brexit result in the UK, the election of President Trump in the US and recent elections in Europe. 

Click here fore more on the plan