Warning of longer commutes as Dublin sprawls into 11 counties
Dublin's reach in terms of economic activity is now big enough to extend into 11 counties.
A report to be released today reveals that half of population growth in the last two decades has been largely centred on our capital city.
It paints a grim picture for rural Ireland and the knock-on effects, including long commutes to Dublin city for work and lengthy journeys to avail of basic services such as healthcare.
Employment is centred on an increasingly "smaller number of areas" while new homes are "spread out", according to the Ireland 2040 document.
The report says many built-up areas, stretching north from Cavan, south to Wexford and east to Longford, are effectively Dublin commuter towns. It will be launched by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Housing Minister Simon Coveney.
According to the document, Dublin generates some 49pc of national economic growth - way above the London figure of 32pc. Failure to address growth in the 'Dublin City-Region' may risk competitiveness and the ability to attract companies in the wake of Brexit, it warns.
Dublin's success as a city-region is a double-edged sword, the report says.
"It has enabled Ireland to compete in an international context but such success has also given rise to pressures in areas such as housing, transport and infrastructural requirements, which affect competitiveness. If Dublin is under-performing, Ireland is under-performing.
"Should the Dublin City-Region suffer a loss of competitiveness and become a less attractive place in which to invest as a result of housing and infrastructural bottlenecks, investment and influence will inevitably be attracted to other similar city-regions in Europe or elsewhere."
The report comes after the Government unveiled its Action Plan for Jobs and the recent launch of a programme to develop rural Ireland.
"There has been an increasing concentration of population and economic activity in the east of the country, with much of the growth associated with Dublin being accommodated in 10 other counties, extending from Cavan to Wexford," the report adds. "We know that present trends take us to an Ireland where around three-quarters of the extra population and homes will happen on the eastern side of the country, much of it clustered around but not necessarily happening in our capital city.
"This will further exacerbate massive and increasingly unmanageable sprawl of housing areas, scattered employment and car-based commuting, presenting major challenges around lop-sided development, under-utilised potential, congestion and adverse impacts on people's lives and the environment."