Monday 3 August 2009

Metro, Dart key to councils' Dublin plan

DUBLIN’S LOCAL authorities are to campaign for the completion of Metro North and Dart underground as part of an economic development action plan aimed at developing the capital as an internationally competitive region.

The objective is to “position the Dublin city region, the engine of Ireland’s economy, as a significant hub in the European knowledge economy through a network of thriving sectoral and spatial clusters providing a magnet for creative talent and investment”.

This ties in with the Government’s new Smart Economy policy, which focuses on translating innovation into valuable processes, products and services.

The plan, launched yesterday, recognises that city regions are important drivers of national economies and that Dublin constitutes “the only international city region in Ireland” with a population significantly in excess of one million.

Lord Mayor Emer Costello said: “Businesses primarily locate in cities and their competitiveness is determined by the performance of the city, by the quality of its infrastructure, its development capacity and the mix of skilled and talented people.”

Noting the involvement of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin county councils, she said the plan was the first of its kind in the region. “We need a visionary leadership to deliver Dublin’s agenda,” she added. “The significance of having a single political voice has proven a successful concept in other city regions.”

Among the initiatives proposed are plans to “generate a brand” for the Dublin city region and to develop the Creative Dublin Alliance, a collaboration between local government, business and third-level institutions.

The action plan also proposes to develop “key economic corridors” to the south, north and west of the city, including the Metro North corridor, the Naas Road corridor and a southern corridor including Sandyford and Cherrywood. It also pledges to “embed economic criteria in the planning process”.

They are also to lobby for major infrastructural projects that are seen to be “critical to the economic success of the city”, including Metro North, Dart underground, broadband roll-out, waste and water management and a “definitive decision” on future of Dublin Port.

“Intellectual enterprise zones” are to target newly unemployed people who have the potential to become entrepreneurs. Support for the delivery of local cultural strategies and Dublin’s creative industries is seen as “essential”.

Cllr Mary Freehill, who chairs the Dublin Regional Authority, said publication of the action plan was “timely, not just because of the very serious climate . . . but also because we are at the draft stages of development plans in the four authorities”.

Irish Times

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