Planning framework must not restrict Dublin – Keegan

Council chief executive says ‘vital importance’ of capital must be recognised

 Owen Keegan, chief executive of Dublin City Council, says the new National Planning Framework   fails to recognise the importance of Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Owen Keegan, chief executive of Dublin City Council, says the new National Planning Framework fails to recognise the importance of Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

The chief executive of Dublin City Council, Owen Keegan, has sharply criticised Government proposals for the new National Planning Framework (NPF) for failing to recognise the importance of Dublin.

The framework, the successor to the National Spatial Strategy, is designed to guide development across the State up to 2040 and is expected to be finalised in the autumn.

Speaking at the publication of the draft plan or “issues paper” earlier this year, the then minister for housing Simon Coveney said action needed to be taken to drive the growth of regional cities like Galway, Cork, Limerick and Waterford, to avoid continued expansion of Dublin.

However, in a letter to the Department of Housing, Mr Keegan said the Dublin city region was a “net contributor in economic terms to the nation” and it was “vitally important that this role is supported and not restricted or hampered”.

The strategic importance of supporting the continued success of Dublin did not appear to be “adequately translated” in the draft document, he said.

Regional development should not be at the expense of Dublin development, Mr Keegan said, and of “serious concern” was a reference to a conflict between achieving more effective regional development and prioritising the needs of the capital.

“Having reviewed the Issues Paper, it is considered that the fundamental importance of the Dublin city region to the country as a whole may not be adequately understood, addressed and incorporated into the NPF’s fundamental structure,” he said, adding that it was “surprising” that “only one section of one chapter of a seven-chapter document is dedicated to Dublin”.

The document appeared to imply, Mr Keegan said, that the success of Dublin had resulted in problems in relation to housing and infrastructure, but he said: “It is the underfunding of infrastructure and public transport and over-reliance on the private sector for the delivery of housing that has resulted in the significant pressures facing the Dublin region.”

The “vital international role” played by Dublin also needed to be accounted for in the new plan, he said.