Dublin's new Project Ireland 2040 national development plan has been branded a 'partitionist lie' whose reference to cross-border linkages between Derry and Letterkenny was a mere 'sop' to appease the North West.
The new plan, which was recently launched to much fanfare in Sligo, came under attack in the Dáil from Donegal Sinn Féin T.D., Pearse Doherty, and his Independent constituency colleague, Thomas Pringle.
Deputy Doherty railed: "This plan is a lie in its very name. This is not a national development plan. It is a plan for a partitioned country. It is a partitionist development plan.
"It speaks of the development of Ireland’s three regions while ignoring the north of our country. The plan speaks of Ireland’s main cities but does not mention Derry or the industrial city of Belfast.
"It also speaks of roads to some place called the border. Unfortunately, this does not cut it."
Deputy Pringle was also critical of the plan.
He said: "I would like to go on and talk about the cross-border element and Brexit. The document seems to suggest that Brexit is not happening, which is good news for all of us in Donegal because the only development in the plan for Donegal is cross-Border between Letterkenny and Derry.
"Hopefully Brexit will not happen and that can go ahead. It seems to be just a sop that was thrown in at the last minute to satisfy us."
And the leader of the Green Party, Eamon Ryan, said national development needed to be planned on an all-island basis from now on.
"On regional development, it is true that we need to develop Cork, Galway, Waterford, Limerick and Sligo and Letterkenny but we need to develop them in conjunction with Derry and think on an all-island basis," he said.
The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, told the Dáil: "We recognised in the consultation period and received much feedback around certain key regional centres in the northern and western region, for example, Sligo and Letterkenny.
"We also recognised the need to strengthen reference to the Atlantic economic corridor and the huge role that will play for the development and investment that we plan between now and 2040. In the midlands, we saw the strategic role that Athlone plays in terms of the three regions.
"We also looked to the important cross-border linkages that are there: Drogheda and Dundalk into Newry, and Letterkenny into Derry. They have been reflected in the plan."