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Future of Infrastructure 2022

Setting a course to review the NPF

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Darragh O’Brien

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage

Climate action and a growing and changing Ireland – what the upcoming review of our National Planning Framework will bring.

Ireland is growing rapidly. The preliminary results of Census 2022 confirm that Ireland’s population exceeded 5 million people for the first time since the middle of the 19th Century, and with growth set to continue, our population is expected to have expanded by approximately 1 million people on the population level in 2016 – a massive demographic transformation that brings great opportunities and challenges.  

This projected growth will require thousands of new jobs, new homes, healthcare facilities, a diverse range of cultural and social amenities, enhanced regional connectivity, improved environmental sustainability and the energy to power it all. Managing growth sustainably remains an important cornerstone in the development of national planning policy and with an updated Climate Action Plan due to be published shortly, this brings the upcoming review of the National Planning Framework into focus.  

Project Ireland 2040 

To navigate any challenge, we need to plan strategically and dynamically. That’s why the Government produced the National Planning Framework (NPF), which sets the vision and strategy for our country’s development to 2040, and the National Development Plan (NDP), which provides the enabling investment to implement that strategy. It’s just over a year since we published the largest and greenest NDP ever. With a record €165 billion investment, it is evidence of our country’s future-focused ambition.  

Together, the NPF and NDP form Project Ireland 2040, the policy and planning framework for the social, economic and cultural development of Ireland. Among its aims is to shift the spatial pattern of development in Ireland, overtime, towards more regionally balanced, city-focused and compact growth. 

To date, more than €1.6 billion of URDF investment has been allocated so far in respect of 132 projects.

We are supporting the implementation of Project Ireland 2040 and its objectives with funds such as the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF). For example, the Government recently approved €186.3m in enabling infrastructure for Clonburris, a new well-designed town in Dublin with over 8,700 homes, sustainable transport links and vital amenities and services. Up to 2,600 of these homes will be social and affordable homes. 

To date, more than €1.6 billion of URDF investment has been allocated so far in respect of 132 projects. This programme of projects will contribute significantly to the transformative regeneration and development of our large towns and cities. 

The NPF is at a relatively early stage in implementation. Achieving its objectives will take time. Since its publication in 2018, we have made significant progress in aligning policy across all levels of government with the NPF’s aims. Sectoral strategies in areas such as transport, water and enterprise have been reviewed and aligned to the NPF. 


The Programme for Government commits to reviewing the NPF by 2024. This will look at a range of factors including NPF implementation to date, the final results of Census 2022, Climate Action Plan obligations and the influence of geopolitical factors on future growth. My department plans to publish a ‘roadmap’ document in the coming weeks. This will address the review process in more detail.  

Together, the NPF and the NDP will guide governments (present and future) to manage growth and make infrastructural decisions in a plan-led, productive and sustainable way, ensuring we build a more resilient, sustainable future to improve the lives and living standards for all of our people. 

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