Dublin is one of the most dominant cities in the developed world and risks sprawling across much of the eastern part of Ireland.
A conference, held at NUI Galway, warned the capital and the east will continue to thrive at the expense of the rest of Ireland if action is not taken to address regional planning. The importance of the upcoming National Planning Framework (NPF) was laid out at the 'Planning For Regional Development: The National Planning Framework as a Roadmap for Ireland's Future' conference.
Paul Hogan, senior advisor of planning at the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, said officials hoped to present a draft of the NPF for political consideration by the first quarter of next year.
The influence of Dublin is also being explored.
It accounts for about half the GDP output in the country and 40pc of the population.
"Dublin is the same in size and population terms as the next 40 towns and cities combined in Ireland.
"Its influence extends from Cavan to Wexford. Outside of city states like Singapore, I think this is possibly unique," said Mr Hogan, describing the capital as "possibly the most dominant city in the developed world".
He said comparable small countries all had twice as many cities at levels below Dublin with three times as many the size of Cork.
Dr Edgar Morgenroth of the ERSI said existing projections suggested a continued sprawl and a move east of both population and of economic activity.
"I suspect that's not really what we want and I think it's up to us to develop a wave of policies that share this out in a different way," he added.