Legacy of National spacial strategy in spotlight

New research has found as much as 82% of jobs created here by overseas firms in the past six years have been centred around Dublin, Cork and Galway.

The findings — by professors Proinnsias Breathnach and Chris van Egeraat of NUI Maynooth — will be formally presented next week at a conference examining the first 10 years of the National Spatial Strategy, hosted by the ESRI.

Peter Mehlbye — director of the co-ordination unit for the European Observation Network on Territorial Development and Cohesion — will deliver the keynote address.

A former member of the NSS advisory committee, Mr Mehlbye will argue that spatial strategies here need to show greater understanding and openness towards European and global strategy, when it comes to growth and jobs. He claims it is important to consider European perspectives on “a variety of relevant themes” when processing a revisited NSS for Ireland.

“People exist in places, and if governance arrangements don’t reflect this in policy design, it’s likely that disjointed public service outcomes will continue to arise,” noted Dr Sean O’Riordain, director of the Public Policy Advisors Network.

“Such lessons have been learnt across the OECD, but — it seems — not in Ireland. This suggests an urgency is required to bring forward thinking based-upon place and not just theme, and this means we have to address the governance arrangements of the State in a manner not previously undertaken.

“If the review of the NSS is to mean anything, we must bring place-based perspective to all public policy discussions; otherwise we will be left with further spatial disfunctionality, disjointed public service delivery and a frustrated citizenry. The question is whether our political and administrative leaders appreciate this,” he said.

Mr O’Riordain said the potential of the NSS was largely lost, even before the challenges of managing a planning environment driven by developer proposals during the Celtic Tiger era.

“Ireland is now, quite possibly, about to make the same mistakes with the move towards shared service models based upon service themes, rather than on the functionality of day-to-day living,” he said.


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