Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.01 29 Mar 2021


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A former Lord Mayor of Dublin has said the capital city has to lead any economic recovery post-pandemic.

Nial Ring was speaking as the Government is set to offer people financial incentives to work from home and move to rural Ireland.

A plan aims to pump investment into rural Ireland and get remote workers to move there.

Councillor Ring told Newstalk Breakfast the plan needs Dublin in order to be funded.

"It's going to cost about a billion - now the question is where do you get that billion?

"This is where Dublin actually has to be put first - because without the powerhouse that Dublin is in economic terms, we're not going to have that billion".

He said the pandemic is costing Ireland around €40bn, and that the economy has to recover.

"The only place that can really be led from is Dublin."

But he added that the incentives may not be enough - giving an example a similar scheme in the US state of Georgia, which offers grants of US$2,000 (€1,698).

"Yes it's very idyllic, it sounds lovely that you go off down to your little house in the country.

"I can't see someone uprooting from Dublin and all its facilities - in terms of the cultural events, theatres, parks, etc - and going down to the country and living".

And he said this plan has been tried before, to limited success.

"There's been plans to rebalance this before: in 2007 there was the big decentralisation programme brought in by the government at the time, where only a third of the people took up the incentive to move out of the city.

"We have all the Government departments in Dublin - lovely if you can move people out and move some of the departments out.

"But would Leitrim County Council or Cork City Council be prepared to take those Government departments who don't even pay rates to Dublin City Council - costing the people of Dublin again another €30m."

He also pointed to the fact that 20% of Dublin property tax is sent down to rural councils.

"Dublin is the answer to the future - the post-pandemic future of the whole country - and we really have to think about looking after it".

While plans for a remote working app are already underway, to allow people to see what spaces are available near them.

Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys has said this will mean less time commuting, a better quality of life and an overall better work-life balance.

Her department is currently mapping out all the co-working spaces, digital hubs and others which will then be integrated into an app.

'Dublin is the answer to the future' - Nial Ring on why the capital has to lead the recovery

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Main image: The headquarters of Ulster Bank are seen across the River Liffey in Dublin city in 2008. Picture by: Peter Mccabe/Zuma Press/PA Images

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Decentralisation Digital Hubs Dublin Financial Incentives Newstalk Breakfast Nial Ring Remote Working Rural Ireland

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