Thursday 19 July 2018

Transport surge as Dublin city population hits 1.35m

Irish Rail: strong growth
Irish Rail: strong growth
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

Dublin's recovering economy has helped push the number of trips taken on the capital's public transport system to more than 50 million in the first three months of the year, according to a gauge of the city's economy.

That's the first time the threshold has been breached since the study, by DK Economic Consultants and commissioned by Dublin's local authorities, first began in 2010.

A total of 51 million trips were recorded in the first quarter, despite the Luas strike which affected five days in the period.

The strongest growth was recorded on both Dublin Bus and Irish Rail.

The figures complement data from Dublin Airport which show that passenger numbers there rose by 13pc to more than 13 million during the first half of the year.

The so-called Dublin Economic Monitor notes that the capital's economy continues to recover strongly.

The unemployment rate experienced a significant drop in the first three months of the year to 7pc, the lowest level since 2008.

Almost 616,000 Dublin residents are now employed, and this is the highest level since the third quarter of 2008.

"If anything, this understates the strength of the labour market, as the numbers commuting into the city are also growing," the monitor states.

The Dublin Economic Monitor is a joint initiative on behalf of the four Dublin local authorities, co-ordinated by the City Council. It is produced by DKM Economic Consultants.

The monitor said the employment data and the census results underline the capital's momentum.

Dublin is now home to 1.35 million people, or 28.3pc of the national population. And it points out that employment across the Dublin economy increased by almost 23,000 jobs year-on-year in the first quarter of the year.

This expansion of just under 4pc was primarily driven by the private sector where employment rose by over 17,000 jobs, or by 4.8pc.

Following the Brexit referendum, Brendan Dowling, DKM Economic Consultants chairman, said the Dublin economy will feel the negative side effects.

"Assessing the impact of Brexit on the Irish economy in general and the Dublin economy in particular is fraught with difficulty," Mr Dowling wrote.

"The likelihood is that the future relationship between the UK and the European Union will be unique and not necessarily derived from existing templates such as that of Norway."

He pointed to issues such as the euro-sterling exchange rate, and also touched on the prospect of Dublin gaining financial services activity as a result of the vote in the UK to withdraw from the EU.

But he added: "It is important to be realistic in any expectations of a boom in financial sector employment in Dublin,"

He pointed out that there were many competing cities for high wage employment, and that the main attraction for Dublin is the language, corporate tax rate and legal system.

"However, personal tax rates in Ireland are very high by European standards with anyone earning over €70,000 per annum considered an ultra-high earner and taxed accordingly," he said.

"Anyone in a senior position in London would expect to earn multiples of this amount annually and will be reluctant to move to such a high tax regime."

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