Irish adults want better infrastructure

In comparison to European counterparts, 55pc of respondents said that Ireland’s public transport network is worse.

Eighty per cent (pc) of Irish adults would like to see more public funding made available to areas outside of Dublin, according to research by Esri Ireland, the market leader in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

The nationwide survey of more than 1,000 adults in Ireland uncovered a wide range of citizen concerns surrounding strategic planning and long-term investment in Ireland.

“By 2040, it is estimated that there will be roughly an extra 1m people living in Ireland, requiring hundreds of thousands of new jobs, new homes and new cultural and social amenities”

While the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 long-term overarching strategy aims to address employment and infrastructure disparities between the capital and other communities across the country, the survey showed there is little knowledge or awareness of this plan amongst the general population.

“By 2040, it is estimated that there will be roughly an extra 1m people living in Ireland, requiring hundreds of thousands of new jobs, new homes and new cultural and social amenities,” said Paul Synnott, managing director of Esri Ireland.

“Project Ireland 2040 seeks to guide a sustainable and strategic approach to preparing and investing for this future, but based on results from this survey, it would seem that there is disconnect in how Government is communicating its long term strategy to the general public.

Who has heard of Project Ireland 2040?

Man in suit beside maps.

Paul Synnott, managing director of Esri Ireland

Just one in ten adults are aware of Project Ireland 2040 and its contents, with 64pc of respondents saying they have never heard of the initiative.

The research shed more light on people’s perceptions of infrastructure planning where they live, with just over half of respondents saying that housing is poorly planned in their area, while it also emerged that 53pc believe that public transport options are lacking in their local area.

A further two-thirds of Irish adults (65%) agree that more investment is needed to improve cycling infrastructure.

When it comes to schools and colleges, 65pc of respondents believe these are well planned in their locality, making it the best planned area of infrastructure ahead of public parks and playgrounds (64pc) and retail and shopping developments (59pc).

However, almost one-quarter (24pc) are dissatisfied with the broadband infrastructure in their area. While the National Broadband Plan seeks to deliver a high-speed broadband network to provide equal access to all, just 45pc of adults in Ireland believe the project will be a success.

In comparison to European counterparts, many believe Ireland is lagging behind other countries in key areas such as transport and health infrastructure, with 55pc of adults saying that Ireland’s public transport network is worse.

With regard to access to hospitals and emergency services, 43pc say we are behind, while 36pc say we are on par with other European countries.

“Although the results indicate a prevailing belief that more needs to be done in terms of regional connectivity, public transport and housing availability, it’s encouraging to see more positive sentiments on our educational infrastructure and green spaces,” Mr Synott continued.  

“Joined-up thinking driven by long-term strategies and a location aware approach will be central to improving planning and ensuring we can deliver better infrastructure for all. Location, place and geography all enable better decision making.

“It is our hope to see strong, geospatial-intelligent leadership and governance at the highest levels of our civil service underpinning efforts to build a fairer and more equal Ireland,” he finished.

By Stephen Larkin

Published: 23 November, 2020