The outcome of a new national plan is critical for the future development of Laois according to Laois TD and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan who has urged Laois people to have their say.
Ireland 2040 – Our Plan”, the new National Planning Framework sees the start of a Government project to plan ahead for the country’s long term development.
"I strongly people across urban and rural locations all across Laois to get involved and have their say on behalf of their communities and the county they know and love," said Minister Flanagan.
He said everybody can see, and has had to live with the "legacy of previous bad planning". The Portlaoise-based TD said this is the first time a Government has planned 20 years ahead like this.
He said the country must deal with the challenges and opportunities brought about by the fact that our population is forecast to increase by 1 million by 2040.
The Mountmellick native said 'unbalanced development' that has seen major growth only in the Dublin area and in the east, cannot continue. He said strong well-developed cities are needed across the country providing regional balance, encouraging people to live and work outside of Dublin.
“This plan is critical for Laois in the context of the rapid population increase experienced in Laois in recent years and the need for essential services to keep pace with the population growth in the county," said the Fine Gael TD.
The announcement of a project follows on quickly from the start of work on a project to replace the National Spatial Strategy which saw Laois relegated to division two status for development.
The absence of IDA jobs in Laois is partly due to this strategy which promoted, Athlone, Tullamore and Mullingar over Portlaoise. Despite this the county's population is one of the fastest growing in the country.
Go to www.ireland2040.ie to make an initial submission between now and the 16th of March. There will also be a series of regional consultations.