Balanced regional development?
Sir, – Roger Flack (August 30th) makes a plea for “balanced regional development”. The basis of this plea, heard very frequently from people who live outside the Dublin area, is the assumption that Dublin is growing at a faster rate than the rest of the country and that significant State intervention is required to change this pattern.
This assumption is, in fact, plain wrong.
CSO census data shows that the population of Dublin rose from 1.05 million in 1996 to 1.34 million in 2016, an increase of 27 per cent . Over the same 20-year period the total population of Ireland rose from 3.62 million to 4.76 million, an increase of 31 per cent. Far from dominating, Dublin is actually lagging behind the rest of the country in growth.
One wonders if some are even aware of the larger increases in population in “rural’ counties” over the same period – Cavan (44 per cent), Wexford (43 per cent), Galway (37 per cent) or Carlow (36 per cent). Mr Flack’s own Cork recorded a 29 per cent increase, beating Dublin by a clear 2 per cent.
Popular discourse, frequently aired and repeated as gospel in the national media, has it that Dublin always gets the best of everything while the rest of the country suffers, but this is clearly not true.
At its worst this dangerous fallacy has had considerable impacts on policy and decision-making at a national level and is at least partially to blame for the over-generous transfers of wealth from Dublin to other regions that have left the city with acute crises in housing, transport, waste management and other essential services.
If any State intervention is required, it is more investment in Dublin, not less. – Yours, etc,