DUBLIN'S ECONOMY

 

Sir, I am concerned by the recent article in The Irish Times (November 30th) on the findings of the Central Statistics Office (CSO) report on regional accounts in Ireland 1991. This report stated that "Dublin was the richest region in the State, with income per capita 27 per cent above the State average," This is a misleading representation of the current economic situation in the Dublin area.

The CSO report presents gross value added (GVA) for each region. This GVA is a measure of the value of the goods and services produced in the region, minus taxes payable and plus any subsidies receivable. The main elements of GVA are thus wages and salaries of employees, the profits of companies and the self employed and consumption of capital. In no way should GVA be used as a measure of the distribution of income among regions in Ireland.

In fact, the CSO highlights that the GVA total for Dublin is "inflated due to it having a significant contribution" from commuting workers from Meath, Kildare, Wicklow and other counties. It provides no indication of the distribution of income.

GVA is not a measure of wealth. It fails to take into account the different needs and circumstances of regions, as in Dublin's case providing for an expanding young population; nor does it value existing possessions and the benefits derived from them, such as ownership of land. It is thus inappropriate as an indicator of living standards.

The other alarming aspect about your article is the connection made between these figures and future rounds of EU funds. It would be inappropriate to use such a criteria to determine future allocations of EU Structural Funds. Calls to exclude Dublin from these, with its concentrations of deprivation and long term unemployment and its pressing infrastructural needs, would not only be a loss to Dublin but a tragedy for the nation as a whole.

Research which the Dublin Regional Authority has commissioned from the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, TCD suggests that the income figures for Dublin are more in line with the national average. The Dublin Regional Authority will therefore continue to campaign for Dublin's inclusion in future rounds of structural funds, and it calls on all the region's interests to support this call. - Yours, etc.,

Cathaoirleach,

Dublin Regional Authority,

11 Parnell Square,

Dublin 1.