A new beginning for a new Irish generation

Megan Conway

When Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced Project Ireland 2040 this month, there was a sense of relief amongst the public and the Government. It’s an ambitious €116 billion project which is set to change the course of the country for the better. It’s a promising plan, creating a secure and prosperous future for the youth of Ireland, but when we begin to count the years and look at the details of the plan, we soon realise that we are actually not the youth who will enjoy this new Ireland.

When I imagine in Ireland in 2040, I imagine a completely changed country. It will be an open place where everyone is accepted for who they are, a prosperous land with plenty of jobs and resources for our citizens and most importantly a safe place for our kids.

As long as they dodge the new Luas lines, motorways, metros, bypasses, Dart lines, runways and bus stops that are set to appear by 2040. Considering we will be the middle-aged taxpayer who will live through all this proposed change and will inhabit this new Ireland, isn’t our opinion one of the most important?

The plan is committed to developing Ireland socially, economically and culturally and to providing the correct support and infrastructure for the one million extra people expected to be living in Ireland. This influx of people will surely put a pressure on our public services that they will never have experienced before.

Change is necessary and is greatly needed to keep up with the growing population the country faces, and the plan looks fantastic for the future of the country. But how it will be implemented worries me. The Government are struggling to control the homeless crisis we have seen over the last number of years. How are they going to cope with our population growing by one million people?

However, the Government cannot be faulted for their efforts in creating a new Ireland. For young people in Ireland, this plan is almost like a stand of confidence in the country most of us will probably consider leaving in the next few years. It’s encouragement from the government to get us to stay in Ireland and give it a chance. And with the huge surges in employment this new plan will bring and the regeneration of rural and urban areas, life in Ireland doesn’t seem too unappealing.

If anything, they are creating a sense of excitement and hope for the youth. Yes, we may be the taxpayers who are going to fork out the €90 billion to cover just a fraction of the plan, but we will also be the generation who will build this new Ireland and who will inhabit it and reap the benefits of our efforts.

The Taoiseach’s “new decade of expansion” will be colourful for Ireland as project 2040 kicks off. Whether or not we see all the changes and developments we have been promised is a completely different story but it’s the first step in the right direction for the future of our country and it’s the first time some hope has been instilled in me for my future here.

Megan Conway

Image by Alan Betson Irish Times