"Major policy change" needed to address community inequality

Dublin has benefited much more from the upturn in the economy than any other parts of the country

"Major policy change" needed to address community inequality

St Mary’s Park in Limerick City

The south side of Dublin city centre is the wealthiest part of Ireland - while an area on Limerick city's north side is the most disadvantaged.

That is according to a new report that identifies the country's richest and poorest communities.

The Pobal deprivation index, published this morning, also found that Dublin has benefited much more from the upturn in the economy than any other part of the country.

Smaller rural towns meanwhile have been hit the hardest by the recession and are recovering more slowly.

The report is based on Census 2016 results and classes areas based on a range of factors including education, lone parents, skilled or professional workers, unemployment, and rented accommodation.

Inequality

It found that the Dublin 2 area around Grafton Street is the richest area in Ireland - while St Mary’s Park in Limerick city is the most disadvantaged.

Pobal spokesman Martin Quigley warned that over the years there has been very little change overall:

"The areas of highest affluence and the areas of highest disadvantage that we found this time around are largely those areas that were of highest disadvantage and affluence in previous Census waves," he said.

"So while there  has been some movement, in general what we have found is that social disadvantage is a long-term and geographically entrenched phenomenon."

In the past 10 years small towns, with a population of between 1,000 and 5,000 people, were worst hit by the recession and benefited less from the recovery.

Major policy change

Social And Economic consultant Trutz Haase who was involved in the study, said there needs to be major policy change:

"We don't have the political willingness by the major parties here to really address those inequalities," he said.

"They are just quite happy to trot along with it.

"The first thing towards a better society is to acknowledge the differences and then to start developing policies which start looking to reduce these inequalities."

You can access the 2016 Pobal Deprivation index here.