Basically yes, except it's worse than that. The NSS was published in 2002, with pretty much a 'one for everyone in the audience' type approach, with a rake of 'gateways' and 'hubs' scattered around the country. The aim seems to have been to ensure that everyone in the State would live relatively close to some designated place or other (and to ensure that nearly every village and hamlet gets a mention). That was bad enough, but it was never implemented in any realistic way either.
The 2003 'Decentralisation' plan, for example, parcelled out jobs to 53 locations with a couple of hubs actually losing jobs. And thats just one example. It's a point that has been made before ad nauseum - our PR-STV electoral system leads to the primacy of the local, and politicians are well aware of the need to be seen to be bringing home the pork barrel. Simple as that.
Thing is though, the NSS is quite a good document, and undoubtedly the best piece on spatial planning ever published by 'official Ireland' - the problem is that the political process finds 'picking' winners impossible to do, and so the recommendations are fudged. Its quite balanced and sensible, right up to the point that the decisions have to be made. And then the shotgun and map comes out, and the pellets start flying in all directions. If you were to draw up such a document in an ideal world, it'd closely resemble the NSS, except that the recommendations would single out the 4 cities outside of Dublin as key growth targets (with tailored regional spatial plans), and then list the remaining hubs/gateways as lower priorities for investment, but priorities nonetheless. A cynic may suggest that this was the actual intention of the authors of the report, given the way it was drafted, and the suble hints that might lie scattered throughout the text. But that's a different story.