Limerick Chamber and Limerick City and County Council have welcomed the ESRI advocating for greater investment in second-tier cities, to ensure sustainable economic growth outside of Dublin.
The ESRI’s recommendation, in its Report ‘Prospects for Irish Regions and Counties’ published yesterday (24 January 2018), aligns with the argument made in the Chamber’s and Council’s previous submissions on the draft National Planning Framework (NPF), that the city regions along the Atlantic corridor can provide an economic development counterbalance to Dublin, and help alleviate pressures on the capital.
In reacting to the ESRI Report, Limerick Chamber’s CEO, Dr. James Ring commented: “Developing our regional cities, more ambitious targets on their growth prospects and strengthening interlinks and co-operation between them, must be the primary focus of the NPF, to ensure more balanced regional growth”.
“To successfully scale up, our second-tier cities as advocated in the ESRI Report, necessary infrastructural supports need to be implemented, including, the M20 to ensure inter-city connectivity, improvements to intra-city road networks, urban public transport and water and wastewater infrastructure,” he added.
Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council Conn Murray said “As outlined by the ESRI, scaling up our second-tier cities will result in positive ripple effects on surrounding areas”. We welcome the recognition in the ESRI Report that increased scale of the second-tier cities would allow them and their wider regions to generate more start-up firms and attract more FDI”.
“Aligning with the standpoint of the ESRI, more balanced growth across our cities is a win-win. It will facilitate the regional cities in reaching their currently underutilised potential, while reducing the overheating currently being experienced in Dublin.”
The draft NPF currently proposes that Dublin and its commuter belt will experience almost 50% of the predicted growth by 2040, while Cork, Limerick and Galway will experience under one-quarter of expected growth.
Both Limerick Chamber and Limerick City and County Council firmly contend that our regional cities need to grow at a faster pace than the already overheated capital, to restore balance and alleviate infrastructural deficits within Dublin. Consequently, Limerick Chamber and Limerick City and County Council believe that the population projections for the regional cities should be explicitly stated in the NPF as being minimum targets rather than caps, while projections for Dublin should be explicitly stated as a maximum cap, to restore more balanced growth.