Government planning strategy is 'very different to decentralisation' says housing minister

Update 11.06am: The Government claims its new planning strategy is very different to decentralisation.

The latest attempts to balance urban and rural development will be unveiled by the Housing Minister and Taoiseach today.

The Ireland 2040 plan will try to ease the pressure on Dublin by providing more homes and services in other parts of the country.

The changes have been compared to previous attempts to move people away from the capital.

But Minister Simon Coveney says it's nothing like those plans.

"This is very different to decentralisation because that was essentially a political trick to try and be popular and that was a disaster.

"What we are doing now is very different and we are going to have a long consultation process with all of the different stake-holders.

"This is the most ambitious thing I have ever been involved in in politics."

Update 10.24am: The Housing Minister is warning that smaller cities need to expand to ease congestion in Dublin.

Simon Coveney will launch the new Ireland 2040 plan later to strike a balance between urban and rural development.

It follows an in-depth report which warns that three-quarters of new homes will soon be clustered around the capital, unless radical action is taken.

"The core fo cities like limerick, cork, waterford and galway and some towns are not developing at the pace that they need to.

"We need to see viability and economies of scale in other small cities at the moment in Ireland that can become a lot bigger and more viable."

Minister Coveney will seek Dáil approval before he goes ahead with his plans, but says something has to change.

Earlier: The Government will outline plans later to strike a balance between urban and rural development.

The 'Ireland 2040' scheme comes amid warnings that three-quarters of new homes will soon be clustered around Dublin, unless radical action is taken.

The plans are expected to include ways to combat urban sprawl, encourage people away from the capital and reduce commuting times.

The Taoiseach and the Housing Minister will launch the proposals in Maynooth University at noon.

The new proposals will be a consulation process by the Government, who will submit a draft before easter, and another draft before the summer months.

Minister Coveney wants to submit the plans to the Dáil and have the members of the house vote to pass the proposals.

The planning strategy is expected to include alternatives to living and working in Dublin.

Improved transport links are suggested between Cork, Limerick and Galway.

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