Opportunism over strategy: a history of regional policy and spatial planning in Ireland

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MacFeely, Stephen
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Taylor and Francis
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Since the 1950s regional policy and spatial planning in Ireland has been largely reactive and opportunistic in nature rather than strategically or ideologically driven. As a result, inconsistent approaches to regional and spatial issues have arisen, driven mainly by short-term goals or issues of the day rather than adherence to a clear, long-term strategic objective. Thus, Government interest in regional and spatial issues has ebbed and flowed in reaction to the events and economic climate of the day; during the 1950s interest surged in reaction to rural decay, emigration and economic failure, waned with entry in to the European Economic Community in 1973 and the prolonged recession of the 1980s and re-emerged in response to growing congestion problems arising from the ‘Celtic Tiger’ at the turn of the century and led to the publication of the National Spatial Strategy (NSS) in 2002. This history is outlined and brought up to date, to incorporate recent developments, such as the publication of the government strategy document ‘Putting People First’. It is hoped that this may provide context to facilitate forthcoming deliberations around the recently announced ‘replacement’ NSS for Ireland.
Regional policy , Spatial planning , Celtic Tiger , Ireland , National Spatial Strategy (NSS)
MacFeely, S. (2016) 'Opportunism over strategy: a history of regional policy and spatial planning in Ireland', International Planning Studies, 21(4), pp. 377-402. doi: 10.1080/13563475.2016.1162403
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor and Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Planning Studies on 04 April 2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13563475.2016.1162403