Micheál Martin says taxpayer money going to FG promotion
Fianna Fáil leader voices concern over National Development Plan advertising
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin: “We’ve no difficulty with the broad principles that inform the plan.”
“The amount of money that’s going to be spent in advertising promoting this Government . . . What’s going on here is a massive use of taxpayers money to promote Fine Gael and to promote parties and governments and I don’t think that’s correct,” he said to Newstalk Breakfast.
He said it is important to differentiate between the National Development Plan (NDP) and the National planning framework. The NDP, he said, is a list of projects and investments whereas the planning framework dictates how the plans will be carried out.
“I think it’s very important to separate the two. There’s been attempts made to try and bring the two together and suggest that if people have an issue with the planning framework, they have an issue with the projects. They don’t.
“I think if you take the National Development Plan first, you can see a large element of political weave there . . . An awful lot of the projects are announcements of projects that have been announced four or five years ago. Other aspects of the plan represent a repackaging of normal, expected expenditure growth over the next ten years,” he said.
Mr Martin said Fianna Fáil doesn’t have a problem with the plan, but with the delivery.
“In terms of a national planning framework, we agreed the necessity for a planning framework and we do agree the necessity for rebalancing the country and one way of doing that is of course to grow the second tier cities, so we’ve no difficulty with broad principles that inform the plan,” he said.
Mr Martin said it is important to ensure plans are matched with the strengths and weaknesses of each county, as different counties have different objectives.
“I do think there has to be a certain degree of flexibility to how local plans and regional plans are developed . . . In any democracy, a need to match planning with strengths and weaknesses of a given community and a given region,” he said.
Responding to a question about whether there will be a vote in the Oireachtas, Mr Martin said no one would vote against the National Development Plan.