Louth Fine Gael TD, Fergus O'Dowd, has said County Louth has been recognised as playing a key role in Ireland's Future Development, following on from Friday's publication of the government's National Planning Framework 2040 (NPF2040).
Drogheda and Dundalk have been designated as key centres for economic growth along the Dublin to Belfast economic corridor.
Deputy O'Dowd says that this will put County Louth to the fore when it comes to future planning and investment.
He believes the DART expansion to Drogheda will be critical in reducing the large number of car commuters from the town each morning.
According to O'Dowd, each individual new fast and high frequency DART will be able to carry up to 1,000 passengers in and out of Drogheda, and increase the commuting options for Dundalk residents with more frequent trains planned for the Dundalk-Drogheda route.
He says that this will also be a game changer for inward investment and will bring much needed big business to the County. This will also open up, he says, the possibility of reopening the Dunleer Train station.
The publication of NPF 2040 on Friday was met with met reactions on Friday. Ibec, the group which represents Irish business issued a statement following the publication. In it Ibec CEO, Danny McCoy, said:
“The launch of Project Ireland 2040 heralds a new and exciting era for the Irish economy and society. Planning for the future is everyone’s business.
"We have now clearly moved beyond the economic recovery phase and can look to the next stage of development with real ambition.
However, in a statement released by the Irish Planning Institute following the publication, Mr. Joe Corr, President of the Institute said
“Good planning is evidence based. The framework proposed today sets out four cities and five towns outside Dublin as growth centres.
"That is one more than the eight gateway cities in the Spatial Strategy of 2002. The evidence of the past 15 years is that this didn’t work.”
He went on, “We recognise fully the imperative, and indeed responsibility, of public representatives to address citizens’ concerns.
"From a professional planning perspective however, ‘Ireland 2040’ is not following the evidence as we hoped it would in order to become a robust enabling tool to shape and enable future investment in the growth of our society and its economy by both public and private sectors.
"It presents as a framework for politics following politics rather development following planning.”
Other key aspects of the plan will include the expansion of the IDA's Regional Property Programme in the North East, which Louth's Deputy O'Dowd believes, will massively beneficial to attract big business to Drogheda and Dundalk.
"The Regional Enterprise Fund will open for round 2 of funding in 2018 with €30 million available which I hope we as an "economic corridor" can take advantage of with fantastic local projects such as the M1 payments corridor", said Deputy O'Dowd.
Key Health plans for the North East include targeted investment in the development of primary care centres and the upgrading and replacement of community nursing units across the region.