Wednesday, 2nd January 2008
'National Development Plan is Delivering a Better Quality of Life for the people of Waterford'
The National Development Plan continued to deliver further social and economic advances in Co. Waterford over the past year. Essential services, including childcare, education and social housing, training and employment programmes, healthcare and physical infrastructure, saw further investment during 2007.
The year saw the launch of the current National Development Plan (NDP), which is the most ambitious in the history of the State. Between now and 2013, €184 billion will be invested in building a more prosperous Ireland for everyone. Virtually all the funding for the Plan is coming from our own resources.
The overall purpose of the Plan is to keep economic growth strong, to build a fairer society, and to ensure that all the regions of the country benefit. That is why it is called Transforming Ireland - A Better Quality of Life for All.
The NDP also provides a strategy that can address the regional imbalance in our economic development, promote environmental sustainability and underpin ever greater co-operation throughout the island.
It builds on the significant social and economic achievements of the previous NDP (2000-2006). The past twelve months has seen the completion of many important programmes under that plan, and the roll-out of the first phase of spending under the current one.
Nationally, the Plan provides €54.6 billion for investment in economic infrastructure; €49.6 billion for social inclusion measures (children, people with disabilities, etc.); €33.6 billion for social infrastructure (housing, health, justice, etc.); €25.8 billion for human capital (schools, training, higher education, etc.), and €20 billion for enterprise, science and innovation.
Locally, in Co. Waterford, a wide range of investments in 2007 saw further progress in delivering a range of improved social and economic services.
The demand for childcare has increased significantly in recent years and the current Plan continues with further investment in this key area, including capital grants and funding for approved community-based childcare projects, particularly those in disadvantaged areas.
Childcare services in Co Waterford were allocated funding of over €1.62 million in 2007. Projects to benefit included the Sacred Heart Community Childcare Project in Waterford.
Providing new schools in developing areas and making sure that the accommodation in existing schools is of a modern standard is a priority under the National Development Plan. Under the Schools Building Programme in 2007 post-primary schools including Presentation Secondary School, Waterford received funding.
Under the devolved scheme nine schools in the county received funding to manage their own school building projects, while under the Summer Works Scheme 24 schools in Co. Waterford received a total of €3.6 million for remedial works. Schools in receipt of grant aid under the scheme include St. Mary's National School, Dungarvan; Mount Sion C.B.S. National School, Barrack Street; Waterpark College, Park Road and St. Paul's Community College, Browne's Road in Waterford City.
A number of health projects were completed in Waterford in 2007, including a new day room, alterations to ward accommodation and upgrade of the ambulance base in Waterford Regional Hospital which received funding of over €1.9 million.
Employment opportunities are a major factor in helping people to overcome poverty and social exclusion, and while social welfare income supports must be adequate, the NDP aims to increase social and economic participation by helping people achieve full-time employment, or other progression options such as training and education.
The Rural Transport Programme (RTP), which was a pilot project under the previous NDP, is now being rolled out permanently throughout the country. This flexible, door-to door service provides regular access to shopping, health services, education, day-care and social activities, and priority in the roll-out is being given to areas which don't have access to public transport services.The Deise Line provides services to rural communities in Co. Waterford.
The first National Women's Enterprise Day, hosted by the County and City Enterprise Boards, was launched during the year. It aims to assist women across the country in running their own business.
During 2007, the Local Development Social Inclusion Programme (LDSIP) continued to fund local partnerships including the Waterford Leader Partnership and Waterford Area Partnership. These agencies promote social inclusion through actions focused on job creation, placement and training; improving the life chances of young people through participation in education under programmes like Youthreach and a range of community development activities.
Another priority of the NDP is the implementation of the Transport 21 programme, including the building of top-class inter-urban roads between Dublin and the Gateway regions of the country. These are vital to improving the competitiveness of Irish business and industry, and facilitating further inward investment
Over €22 million was allocated to non-national roads in the county in 2007; examples include Clonea Access Road and Tallow Link Road. Over €16 million was also allocated for national road improvement and maintenance. Schemes progressed included the second phase of the N9/N10 Kilcullen to Waterford from Kilcullen to Knocktopher and work on the Waterford to Dublin Road (Phase 2 N9/N10).
The NDP also provides funding for the roll-out of quality broadband services across the whole country. The second phase of the Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) will see the roll-out of broadband infrastructure to many more towns. Towns selected for this scheme and currently under construction in Co. Waterford include Carrick on Suir and Thomastown.
Waste management has been improved in the county in recent years. The waste infrastructure grant in 2007 was over €2.05 million to promote greater use of recycling and recovery. Examples of projects funded include Kilbarry Composting, Dungarvan Waste Park and Tramore Civic Amenity Site.
The allocation to upgrade and expand water treatment capacity, improve drinking water quality and supply and improve and expand wastewater treatment in Co. Waterford in 2007 was over €189 million.
Water schemes have advanced in the county in 2007. Examples include Waterford, Dungarvan and Tramore Sewerage Schemes, East Waterford, Waterford South City and North West City Water Supply Schemes.
Co. Waterford received an allocation of €236,250 for tourism development in 2007. Projects that benefited include the Dunmore East Beach & Tourism Amenity Development. Theatre Royal was also allocated funding of €1m.
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