Friday 23 March 2018

Urgent need for other cities to keep pace as capital continues to 'eat up growth' - ESRI

Dublin city centre (Stock picture)
Dublin city centre (Stock picture)
Gareth Morgan

Gareth Morgan

Dublin is still eating up growth in Ireland - and there is an urgent need for other cities to keep pace with the capital, a leading think-tank has warned.

The population of the Greater Dublin Area is set to increase from 1.91 million to 2.35 million by 2040, according to the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

The ESRI says that the dominance of the capital threatens to damage the national economy.

If the current pattern of growth continues, it will lead to a further gap in prosperity between Dublin and the rest of the country. It will also lead to extra housing demand and increased long-distance commuting.

Dublin and the mid-east are projected to see 1.7pc growth in the number of jobs available. But jobs growth is projected to be as low as 0.9pc in the Border, south-east and mid-west areas.

The research finds that the best outcome would be to devise policies to share growth with the rest of the country. This would relieve pressure in the Dublin region, while still allowing growth.

It says that development of "second-tier cities" will be key to sustainable economic growth over the coming decades.

The ESRI has called for development of water services, public transport and schools in the regional cities.

"It is essential that affordable housing and other amenities are provided in cities in order to attract people to live there and to avoid further sprawl," it said.

Edgar Morgenroth, associate research professor at the ESRI, said: "When economic activity is concentrated in one centre, national economic performance is reduced.

"The lack of scale of the second-tier cities in Ireland reinforces the dominance of Dublin and limits the development potential of the other regions.

"Investing in second-tier cities is essential to ensure sustainable economic growth outside of Dublin."

The research provides projections for regions across Ireland up to 2040, examining what will happen if current planning patterns continue, and what would happen in a range of alternative scenarios.

Irish Independent

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