IRELAND: Maximising Ireland’s reform opportunity

Renehan Hall, NUI Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland. Friday 26th September 2014

Ireland’s ESPON on the Road conference titled Creating the Regions of Tomorrow: Maximising Ireland’s Reform Opportunity was held at Maynooth University on September 26th 2014. This event focused on the review of the National Spatial Strategy and the reform of regional governance in Ireland, both of which are ongoing in Ireland. The conference was opened by Paudie Coffey TD, Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Housing, Planning and Coordination of the Construction 2020 Strategy.

The conference brought together some of the leading experts in regional, spatial and economic planning in Europe and Ireland to discuss the critical issues facing the government in developing the promised new National Spatial Strategy and proposals for regional governance reform. Keynote speakers included Dr. Lewis Dijksta of the European Commission and editor of the recently published Sixth Report on Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion and Professor Michael Parkinson of the University of Liverpool who regularly advises the UK government on urban regeneration matters.

According to Irish NCP Professor Mark Boyle of Maynooth University "Spatial planning is very central to what we did wrong during the Celtic Tiger and what we need to do properly in the future. We are already witnessing an uneven economic recovery and an increasingly ‘two-speed’ Ireland with new employment and investment ever more concentrated in larger urban centres, particularly Dublin"

Professor Boyle added “European Structural and Investment funds are worth €1.2 billion to Ireland over the next seven years to help pump-prime regional development. However, this money now comes with strings attached, linked to performance towards economic, social and environmental targets. It is now critical that we learn the mistakes of the past and plan this investment stimulus wisely to offset austerity policies, counteract unbalanced development and promote regional recovery and job creation".

This conference also took stock of important policy developments at the European and national levels which will have an important bearing on future regional development policy and had a specific focus on the spatial aspects of policy implementation, particularly the proposed review of the National Spatial Strategy and the new Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies.

Presentations (ppt and video) are now available to download below:

  • Minister Paudie Coffey TD – Opening Address [video]
  • Professor Jim Walsh – Fifty Years of National and Regional Planning in Ireland – Learning the Lessons of the Past [slides] [video]
  • Professor Michael Parkinson – Why Invest Outside Dublin? – Some Economic Policy Messages from Europe [slides] [video]
  • Dr. Lewis Dijkstra – Overview of EU Cohesion and Regional Policy to 2020 [slides 1 & 2] [video]
  • Stephen Blair – New Regional Governance for Ireland: The Challenges and Opportunities Ahead [slides] [video]
  • Niall Cussen – Shaping the Next Generation of National and Regional Spatial Policies in Ireland [slides] [video]
  • Dr. Graeme Purves – Reviewing the National Spatial Strategy – the Scottish Experience in Preparing the National Planning Framework and Some Possible Lessons for Ireland [slides] [video]
  • Dr. Edgar Morgenroth – Spatial Development Patterns and the Implications For Ireland’s Medium Term Economic Strategy [slides]
  • Dr. Adrian Healy – Fostering Regional Recovery: Evidence and Insights from the ESPON Crisis Project [slides]
  • Dr. Chris Van Egeraat – Regional Economic Resilience: The Role of Industrial Structure and Inward Investment [slides]
  • Dr. Brendan O’Keeffe & Dr. Karen Keaveney – Energising Ireland’s Rural Economy: Spatial Development Messages from Current Government Policy – Signposts from CEDRA and Local Governance [slides]

Photo: Finaghy (at en-wp); postprocessing by AFBorchert