The Mid-Term Evaluation of the National Development Plan (NDP) and Community Support Framework (CSF) for Ireland, 2000 to 2006

30/10/2003

The Mid-Term Evaluation of the National Development Plan (NDP) and Community Support Framework (CSF) for Ireland, 2000 to 2006

Editors: John Fitz Gerald, Colm McCarthy, Edgar Morgenroth, and Philip O’Connell

The Report was carried out for the Department of Finance and the EU Commission. It provides an independent evaluation of the National Development Plan and it makes recommendations on how the NDP can be better targeted over the rest of the planning period through a reallocation of funding.

Some of the main findings of this Mid-Term Evaluation include:

  • The strategy underlying the NDP was broadly correct and the investment undertaken has probably boosted the long-term level of output in the economy by around 3% – equivalent to a rate of return on the investment of around 14%.
  • Investment in infrastructure, education, and training was found to have higher returns than previously thought.
  • Inflation has been a serious problem since the NDP began. The very rapid increase in investment aggravated the situation.
  • Looking forward, there is now some scope for a further increase in investment in physical infrastructure without excessive inflation. The exception is the housing market, where capacity remains very tight.
  • Recommendations on reallocation of resources are made on the assumption of broadly unchanged funding from 2004 to 2006.
  • Increased funding for transport investment, especially investment in roads, is suggested.
  • A reduced allocation is suggested for direct support to the business sector.
  • There should be some reprioritisation of funding, especially in the Regional Programmes, to support the National Spatial Strategy.

Lessons from the evaluation:

  • Before changing plans for any major project a full evaluation should be done. The Luas project was a case where this did not happen. This recommendation applies to the case of new road investment, where the proposed investment departs from previous assessments of need.
  • There should be a return to multi-annual budgeting for investment. Supporting Policies:
  • Measures are needed to control demand in the housing sector. This applies especially to demand for second dwellings.
  • There is a need to manage infrastructure to ensure it is fully utilised. This should include appropriate pricing of access to water, waste disposal, and urban road space.
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