Regional economic and development balance is vital, says Ibec

The growing economic imbalance between the regions and the greater Dublin economy needs addressing as a matter of national urgency, according to business group Ibec.

Regional economic and development balance is vital, says Ibec

In its submission on the National Planning Framework, the Government’s planning strategy for the next 25 years, Ibec said much more efficient planning and delivery of major development projects was needed up to 2040.

Fergal O’Brien, Ibec’s director of policy and public affairs, said: “The Irish economy is recovering at a pace much faster than many expected, but not all parts of the country are benefiting equally. Given its size and economic importance, we need the city of Dublin to grow at a sustainable rate.

“Our capital is in a global race for investment and we need to ensure that it ranks high among the world’s most livable cities. But none of this should come at a cost to the other regions.”

Mr O’Brien said connectivity between the regions was of paramount importance if regional Ireland was to grow with the capital.

“It makes economic sense to invest wisely now in the regions to allow businesses to create more jobs locally. Ireland needs an effective counter-balance to the Dublin economy.

“This can be best delivered through improved connectivity of our Atlantic cities and ensuring that all regions are well connected to the Dublin economy and to each other,” he said.

He claimed that Ireland lagged far behind countries that would be considered competitors for business.

“We are the lowest investors of capital in the EU, even though we have the fastest growing population. Our research shows that businesses make decisions regarding their location on a number of factors, and quality of life ranks high.

"If we want to continue to attract FDI clients to our shores, Government must break away from the austerity mind set and ramp up spending on public infrastructure.This continued austerity could only be achieved by sacrificing much needed public investment,” he said.

The NPF is the successor to the National Spatial Strategy, largely accepted to have failed. It will be brought before the Dáil in its final form before October’s Budget.

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