Ireland is at a crossroads.
After many difficult years we have now set out a plan which builds a future based on opportunity, fairness and sustainability, and which meets our people’s hopes and ambitions in an authentic way.
Too often in the past such an opportunity has been destroyed by bad politics and bad choices. In setting out Project Ireland 2040 and our vision for a Republic of Opportunity, we seek to ensure that the sacrifices made by so many people during the difficult years of recession will not have been in vain.
The solid foundation of our plan is built on genuine enterprise and innovation, not on speculation or debt. However, we are also aware of the gathering pace of global challenges which will not relent and which must be met with responsibility and resilience. Brexit is one of the most significant challenges we have ever faced. Technology is transforming the world in which we live at an unprecedented rate. Responding to climate disruption is a profound challenge where we must aspire to be a leader, not a follower. The decisions we make now in meeting these challenges will be crucial for the choices available for the next generation
We are putting plans in place to be ahead of those changes. That means:
- implementing Project Ireland 2040 to create growth that is compact, connected, sustainable and regionally balanced;
- setting out a plan to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change;
- supporting talent and being a leader in anticipating and responding to the needs of learners and enterprise, and providing new pathways for learners to develop;
- responding to the new expectations of Irish citizens. The new stresses and threats in their lives demand new approaches, including by supporting mental health, in positive ageing and right across the public service; and
- making communities safe in a world with new types of threat, by changing the whole culture of policing and regulatory reform.
Developing a strong economy enables the creation of equality of opportunity which is our central driving ambition. Fairness and justice are not to be found in making everyone the same. Every person must have the chance to take different paths to fulfil their potential. The role of government is to provide opportunity, and to give people a second chance when they do not succeed. It is to empower people and to respond to diversity of need with choice and opportunity.
Fine Gael has led at critical turning points in our history. Fine Gael members will get the opportunity early next year to input into our plan for the future.
Richard Bruton TD
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment