According to almost 70% of companies surveyed in our most recent Cpl Resources Employment Market Monitor (Q1 2018), the Boom is back, but only in the already affluent parts of the country.
Irish economic growth in 2017
In 2017 the Irish economy grew three times faster than any other European country. Estimated GDP growth was 7.3%, a jump compared to the 4.8% rate of growth predicted in the Commission's Autumn Economic Forecast.
The European Commission stated that the figures were driven up largely by multinational companies in Ireland, which have their European headquarters here, like Google, PayPal, Facebook or Amazon. While an underlying domestic activity, stripping out some of the contributions of multinationals, grew 'robustly' by 4.9% in the first three quarters of 2017.
Half of all economic activity is generated in Dublin
The Economic and Social Research Institute has warned that although the Boom may be back, Dublin is still eating up growth. There is an urgent need to rebalance growth by encouraging regional development led by a small number of large urban centres outside Dublin.
If the current growth pattern continues, it will lead to a further gap in prosperity between Dublin and the rest of the country. It will also lead to additional housing demand and increased long-distance commuting in Dublin.
Scaling up second-tier cities would provide a greater range of functions in surrounding areas, as well relieving pressure in the Dublin region, while still allowing significant growth. To achieve this, it is necessary to develop essential infrastructure, such as water and wastewater infrastructure, urban public transport, schools etc. There is a pressing need for affordable housing and other amenities to be provided in cities to attract people to live there.
The increased scale of the second-tier cities would allow them and the remainder of the country to generate more start-up firms and attract more FDI.
However, although employers feel the Boom is restricted to big cities efforts are being made to ensure growth outside the greater Dublin area. Enterprise Ireland has launched a �500,000 Competitive Start Fund to support regional start-ups. The �500,000 fund will provide up to �50,000 in equity funding for up to 10 successful applicants.
Moreover, there was a net increase of 10,309 new jobs at EI supported companies last year, with 2/3's of these based outside of Dublin.