Integrity of National Planning Framework now completely undermined
Three Weeks to Change the NPF undermines Evidence Based Approach
Labour TD for Tipperary Alan Kelly, and member of the coalition opposed to the draft National Planning Framework (NPF) has raised concerns about the integrity of the process following substantial last minute changes.
Deputy Kelly said:
“After a three year process, based on a rigorous governance roadmap, which commenced when I brought in legislation to create it, the NPF has now been critically undermined in the last three weeks with a lack of transparent evidence base to support the significant changes the Government is now making. The government have now fatally undermined the integrity of this process.
“The Taoiseach has said that there will be ‘significant changes’ from the final draft that was published by the Government recently. The newly changed NPF will determine investment, planning and the future growth of Ireland for the next decade but it is now built on foundations that have radically changed.
“For example the recent changes by the Government will determine how Transport Infrastructure Ireland decides which roads to invest in, but we don’t know what criteria or population figures this will now be based on. Following the changes made it must be clarified if the evidence base for the National Development plan has been overhauled as well and if so how is it credible to say they did all this in three weeks?
“The population projections on which the initial draft NPF was based on are dubious and the failure to update the figures will fatally undermine the plan to be published on Friday.
“Following the campaign of the NPF Coalition and supposed last minute interventions by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, and a number of FG TDs it appears the NPF has now been radically changed without any new consultation, review of the evidence or recalibration of the figures for future population growth or strategic planning.
“These last minute changes without any public debate or consultation have fatally undermined the integrity of the plan.
“The questions about the NPF continue to mount, and I am seriously concerned about what has been happening over the last three weeks behind closed doors.”