Ireland's recent economic transformation has resulted in a vastly changed environment for the preparation of this National Development Plan as compared with its predecessor in 1994.
However, there are deficiencies in Ireland's economic infrastructure that have the potential to impede further economic and social progress, e.g.:
- a slowdown in the labour force
- skills shortage in key areas
- lack of sufficient regional balance in economic and employment development to date
- unacceptable levels of poverty and social exclusion in urban and rural areas.
The National Development Plan is designed to strengthen and improve on Ireland's international competitiveness so as to support continued, but more balanced, economic and social development.
The National Development Plan has four basic strategic objectives
- to continue sustainable national economic and employment growth
- to strengthen and improve Ireland`s international competitiveness
- to foster balanced Regional Development
- to promote Social Inclusion
The National Development Plan comprises:
- 3 National or Inter-regional Operational Programmes
- 2 Regional Operational Programmes (BMW & S&E)
- PEACE Programme (border counties and Northern Ireland)
The Inter-regional Operational Programmes are as follows:
- Economic and Social Infrastructure
- Employment and Human Resources Development
- Productive Sector
The National Development Plan will involve an unprecedented increase of investment in transport infrastructure, including public transport.
The Productive Sector Operational Programme has been allocated EUR 2 471 million for Research, Technological Development & Innovation over the period 2000-2006.
Most of the public funding for the NDP (about 90 percent) will be provided from domestic sources, mainly from the Exchequer. Nevertheless, the contribution from the European Union will be significant:
- EUR 3.8 billion from the Structural and Cohesion Funds
- EUR 2.2 billion under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Rural Development Plan.
- Investment under Public Private Partnerships will amount to at least EUR 2.4 billion.
The breakdown of the Economic and Social Infrastructure Programme by sector will be as follows:
- Social Housing EUR 7.62 billion
- Health Capital EUR 2.5 billion
- Energy EUR 0.18 billion
- National Roads EUR 5.97 billion
- Public Transport EUR 2.84 billion
- Environmental Services EUR 3.22 billion