Figures back Minister for Dublin, says Councillor

Revenue figures showing that over 50% of tax is paid in Dublin supports the creation of a Minister for Dublin, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Councillor Neale Richmond said yesterday.

The figures broken down by county show that over half of taxes are paid from Dublin, despite the county accounting for only one quarter of the population. The Greater Dublin Area – which includes Meath, Kildare, and Wicklow – accounts for just under 60% overall tax take, with just under 40% of the country’s population.

“Parts of Dublin benefit from Luas and the Dart and Dublin is home to many of our national institutions, international facilities and universities,” Richmond (Fine Gael) said. “However, Dublin also suffers most from overcrowded school classrooms and choked up hospitals and A&E departments. It is home to many of the most disadvantaged communities in the country and the highest levels of crime.”

He added: “Public spending in Ireland is incremental with existing services getting an increase or decrease every year based on the allocation they got the previous year. This system does not reflect shifts in population that have occurred in the last few decades.”

Richmond said he has written to Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny asking him to create a specific front bench portfolio for Dublin and to commit Fine Gael to appointing a minister with specific responsibility for the Dublin region if the party gets into government.

He admits the idea is not a new one, and points out that numerous academics have raised the suggestion before, naming Conor Skehan of DIT.

Conor Skehan, along with Lorcan Sirr, also of DIT, wrote on the subject of the increasing importance of urban votes in The Irish Times this week.

On solutions, they wrote: “It might mean having to create a minister for the greater Dublin area, which is, after all, an area that will have nearly 2½ million people in the next 15 years.”

“We currently have both a Minister and Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, with about 92,000 people, or just 2.1 per cent of the total population, but no minister with responsibility for the region that drives the economy. A successful economic engine means a smoother ride for the entire country, but the main parties are, perhaps understandably, fearful of acknowledging that message at the risk of alienating their rural voters,” the academics said in The Irish Times.

Richmond said “watered down” proposals for a mayor of Dublin are not enough.

“It is a bit rich that the Gaeltacht region with such a small population has its own Minister when Dublin is ignored by this Government. If we are to rebuild Ireland as a strong entity we must focus first on renewing Dublin. Dublin is the social and economic driving force for this country, it deserves recognition of this as opposed to a watered down, directly elected Mayor as is proposed by the Green Party. Put simply, it is time for a Minister for Dublin,” he said.

The tax data by county does not include stamp duties, capital acquisitions tax, or taxes at the point of import, all of which are not recorded by county boundaries. Figures received by Fine Gael TD Leo Varadkar through a parliamentary question are available here, while explanatory memorandum can be found here.

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