I feel it deserves a thread of its own, given the matters arising.
Ireland is in a mess, economically and in terms of its development.
The latter was compromised by the feelgood National Spatial Strategy.
Distributed spatial development needed to be predicated by distributed economic development.
Without indigenous or foreign investors wanting to locate fare from Dublin this meant decentralisation.
The lack of take up of decentralisation in any significant degree meant the plan needed urgent review and still does.
Regarding the plan, was never clear to me how you could implement a strategy without a Director of National Spatial Strategy.
How for example, could you regulate the behaviour of Financial Institutions without a pro-active Financial Regulator with powers?
The role is one of regulation, not merely recording or documentation, and with neither political will nor executive ability we fell, burning.
This Director of National Spatial Strategy I propose would operate at a level higher than the County Managers and be directly responsible to the Minister for the Environment.
His job would be to deliver on the National Spatial Strategy and to do this he would have to work in tandem with the Director of National Economic Strategy.
The Director of National Economic Strategy is another non-existent executive position and a function which Lenihan and Cowan before him could not fulfill.
One view suggests that Bertie seemed to be promoting a brochure on spatial design put about by some consultant or other, without really understanding the implications of distributed development.
The contrary view suggests that Bertie Ahern understood completely the need for a distributed development plan to justify building roads to every part of the country.
If so, this seems to go against every precept of his later partners in Government and even the PD remnants; -
- ocalised centres of excellence
- dense development
- economic distribution of service
- localisation of amenities.
To ensure every far-flung vote, it seems that Bertie betrayed all common sense in terms of how you should sustainbly develop a country
How to redress the balance?
There seems to be a lot of work to do here.
I think we need to start with implementing the following measures; -
1. A root and branch review of the National Spatial Strategy.
2. A reduction in total numbers of Councils and members of Councils.
3. The appointment of a Director for National Spatial Strategy.
4. The development of a National Economic Strategy - as opposed to a 4-year Budget
5. The appoinment of a Director for National Economic Strategy.
I suggest the last point to implement point nubmer 4.
I suggest both to keep the meddling hands of Gombeen men politicians away from the means of returning our economy to health.
The first three points are related to the concept of planning development on a national level.
The lack of a Director of National Spatial Planning shows what a lame-duck paper exercise the original plan was.
It opened the floodgates for Gombeen Counsellors in every botharín hamlet to outrageously grand development that was unsustainable.
- Old Master
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