Presentations from the NIRSA/ESPON seminar held a few weeks ago on ‘Creating the Regions of Tomorrow: Maximising Ireland’s Reform Opportunity’ are now online.
Discussions on the day focused on the interesting times ahead for regional development in Ireland. In addition to the new round of financing under the EU Regional Development Fund 2014-2020, there are substantial changes planned for Ireland’s regional governance structure and regional policy.
Consultations on a successor to the National Spatial Strategy are due to start in Q1 2015. It is intended to be a more concise and strategic document than the NSS, with the Scottish National Planning Framework providing a model.
It is critical that the process of developing a new regional policy provides an opportunity for some serious debate about regional development and its future in Ireland. The current spatial pattern of recovery, with signs of increasing economic and employment concentration in the larger cities and a re-emergence of regional inequality, shows the urgent need to re-evaluate Ireland’s approach to regional development. The WDC previously examined this issue in our 2010 publication ‘Why care about regions? A new approach to regional policy’ and we are looking forward to inputting to this process.
Next year also sees the establishment of the three new Regional Assemblies to replace the current regional structures. The Northern & Western, Southern, and Eastern & Midlands regional assemblies are due to be established on 1 January 2015. One of their main jobs will be to develop new Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies to replace the current Regional Planning Guidelines which end in 2016.
So it looks like the next two years will be a very important time in shaping Ireland’s future regional policy and strategy.
The presentations from the NIRSA/ESPON seminar can be downloaded from http://espon-ireland.ie/?p=688