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ESRI Report shows need for an economic vision to counter decline of rural Ireland - Pearse Doherty TD

24 January, 2018 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Deputy Pearse Doherty today highlighted that the ESRI report ‘Prospects for Irish Regions and Counties’, which has important policy implications for the Government. 

The Sinn Féin spokesperson for Finance said that it showed the need for an economic vision to counter the decline of rural Ireland.

Deputy Doherty said:

“The prospect looks bleak for regional Ireland and urgent policy action is needed. 

"Population growth is projected to be greatest in and around the major cities and in particular Dublin, with the population share of the Dublin and Mid-East regions projected to increase to 41.7 per cent from 40 per cent. 

"The number of older people is projected to increase significantly throughout the country but is projected to be highest in the Border and South-East regions.

"In short unless there is a different vision rural Ireland will continue to decline.

“It will come as no surprise to many, as outlined by the ESRI, that the level of economic activity that is excessively concentrated in Dublin can have a negative effect on national economic performance, and reinforces that the dominance of Dublin limits the development potential of the other regions.

“Measures are urgently needed to support the regions and counter the dominance of Dublin including increased direct supports for businesses that export, proper investment in our regional colleges and ITs and an ambitious infrastructure programme to allow regions to compete for economic investment.

"There are important implications for housing policy too. 

"The report’s growth scenario for the projected increase in the population implies an increase of the number of households by more than 500,000, which will need to be housed by 2040. 

"If the vast majority of these houses are in the cities, the regional imbalance will only be compounded.

"This report should act as a wake-up call to government to act on the issue of regional development. It is time to take seriously the future of rural Ireland instead of just paying lip service.”

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