Engineers Ireland, the professional membership body for engineers, has today welcomed the publication of the National Development Plan (NDP) 2021-2030.
The Plan, which incorporates an investment package of €165bn, focuses on priority solutions to strengthen housing, climate ambitions, transport, healthcare, jobs in regions and economic renewal for the decade ahead.
“Ireland will be home to at least one million more people in the next 20 years,” commented Caroline Spillane, Director General of Engineers Ireland. “Our Institution has long campaigned for more strategic and targeted investment in infrastructure and technology. Correctly targeted investment underpins social cohesion by providing vital facilities for citizens. We are pleased to see Government reaffirm their commitment to capital investment with a total public investment of €165bn over the period 2021-2030 detailed in today’s report. This investment, which will bring public investment to 5 per cent of GNI*, will have a transformative impact on economic development, regional growth, employment opportunities and the realisation of our climate ambitions and targets.”
In addition to physical infrastructure, a significant element of the investment set out in the NDP will support enterprise development, research, innovation and science. As an advocate for STEM education in schools, the professional membership body welcomed the development of ambitious strategies in relation to digitalisation, including The Digital Strategy for Schools which seeks to further embed digital technology teaching, learning and assessment in primary and post-primary schools. Ms Spillane noted that this “Capital investment in connectivity and equipment, alongside teacher upskilling, will be essential to the embedding of digital technologies in education across all classrooms, thus improving awareness of STEM career paths and supporting our future engineering talent pipeline.”
Infrastructure projects welcomed today by the professional body, include:
- The funding commitment of €360m for the development of walking and cycling infrastructure all over Ireland, including in towns and villages well as rural Greenways.
- Completion of investments at Dublin Port, the Port of Cork and Shannon Foynes Port, in addition to the completion of new parallel runway for Dublin Airport.
- Enhanced retrofitting programme of 500,000 homes to BER B2 and the installation of 600,000 heat pumps, 400,000 of which will be in existing homes by 2030.
- EirGrid’s Celtic Interconnector project between Ireland and France, which includes a fibre telecommunications cable.
- The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, and the National Broadband Plan.
- Housing, including an average of 10,000 new social homes and 6,000 affordable homes each year.
- Protection and renewal of National Roads.
- Water and wastewater infrastructure projects including the Eastern and Midlands Water Supply Project, the Greater Dublin Drainage Project.
Investment in the new and planned multi-campus Technological Universities, which will strengthen their role as anchors of enterprise helping to attract and retain talent in the regions, was also welcomed by the professional body.