March 2012

We’ve posted a couple of times (here and here) about the six planning investigations started by John Gormley but then discontinued with the change in government.  The debate concerning them has reignited in the past few days in the wake of the Mahon Report. (more…)

For the first time, the housing stock and vacancy data from the Census has been released at the new Small Area (SA) level.  This new statistical geography, developed by the National Centre for Geocomputation at NUI Maynooth for Ordnance Survey Ireland, consists of 18,488 areas, typically consisting of 80-130 households. (more…)


The initial evidence from Census 2011 indicates considerable stability in trends in family and household formation patterns since 2006.  Many of the changes in the composition of Irish families and households – as in other western societies – can be attributed to the postponement and  ‘unbundling’ of family life transitions, especially in early adulthood.  People are waiting longer to marry, set up house and have children, and the sequencing of those transitions is no longer as ordered or closely scheduled as in the past. (more…)

The Census reveals that the population in Ireland in April 2011 was 4,588,252, a 8.2% increase on 2006.  This is the highest population in the 32 local authority areas since 1861.

Since 1991 the population has grown by 1,062,533 people (30.1%), a phenomenal rate of growth in the twenty years.

There is a varying geography to population change (see Figure 1 below and also AIRO graphing tool here).  (more…)

The definitive Census 2011 population figures have been published today. Election boundary changes (for general and European elections) will be made on the basis of these, but this time are taking place in the context of a decision by government to advise a reduction in Dail seat numbers by between 6 (160 seats) and 13 (153 seats). So what do these population figures mean in terms of which constituencies may, or may not, be likely to have their election boundaries changed following on the upcoming Consituency Commission report, especially given that this body effectively will have eight different options in terms of total Dáil seat numbers to choose from? (more…)

On Census night April 2011 there were 1,994,845 housing units in the state (up 12.72% from 2006, when there were 1,769,613).  1,649,408 of these units were occupied by the usual resident.  Of the remainder, 289,451 were vacant, 45,283 were absent on the night of the census but usually occupied, and 10,703 were occupied by guests.  Of the vacant stock, 59,395 were classed as holiday homes. (more…)

3.86m people (84.2%) of people living in Ireland defined themselves as Roman Catholic in April 2011, a decrease on the 87% who did so in 2006.  Due to general population increase, however, just under 180,000 more people define themselves as Catholic than in 2006. (more…)

Census 2011 reveals that for the first time in the history of the state, the largest migrant group in the country is not from the UK. Poles have now taken that position, with a 94% increase in the number of Poles living in Ireland since 2006. In April 2011, there were just over 122,000 Poles recorded by the Census. With around 112,000, the second largest group was people from the UK, unchanged in number since 2006. (more…)

First official results of Census 2011 were released this morning

Results released at new Small Area level (18,488 areas)

All data available in tables from CSO and graphs and maps from AIRO, NUI Maynooth

The first set of definitive Census 2011 are released today, less than a year after being collected.  The results consist of the principal demographic results and provide us with a detailed snapshot of the country in April 2011.  The CSO report – This is Ireland – can be found here.

There are two big changes in how the census results are being released. (more…)

I was away at the tail end of last week in Scotland talking, appropirately enough, on the property crisis in Ireland and its causes and effects.  The result was I missed most of the Mahon media frenzy.  At the moment I’m flat out with work that has a Thursday deadline.  This blog really does need to have a considered piece on the Mahon Report and its implications for the planning system.  I will try to draft something soon, in the meantime here is a link to a piece I wrote in June last year concerning the downgrading of the independent review into planning in six local authorities.  Here’s what I concluded at the time.

The reason given by the Department is that the format for the review was considered ‘inappropriate’ by Minister for Environment, Phil Hogan TD and Minister of State for Housing and planning, Willie Penrose, TD.  By ‘inappropriate’ one presumes they mean ‘independent’ with a license to ask difficult and awkward questions.  By downgrading the review to an internal process, the Department has left itself open to accusations that it is seeking to narrow the parameters, remit, autonomy, openness and transparency of any review.  Whether such accusations are fair or not, presentation and process are important in creating trust, faith and confidence in the system of governance.  Downgrading a review does not built such sentiment.

In the wake of the Mahon Report it seems entirely appropriate that these reviews are now carried out.  If there are no problems the Dept and the Councils should have nothing to fear by such a process.

Planning corruption and cronyism are not victimless crimes.  People are living in landscapes scarred by poor and empty structures, citizens are left with the cost of servicing inefficient development, and with the costs of the bank bailout and fiscal crisis.  We deserve a robust, fair and transparent planning system. Part of the process of getting such a system is to determine existing flaws, expose wrongdoing and to reform practices and structures.  Mahon provides an entry point, not the final analysis.  These independent reviews need to be recommenced.

Rob Kitchin

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