September 2012

New paper by UCD planning folk.  The Role of Property Tax Incentives in Urban Regeneration and Property Market Failure in Dublin by Brendan Williams and Ian Doyle

Property tax incentives or selective waivers have been used extensively in Ireland in the last 25 years to stimulate property development and investment for urban regeneration. This paper investigates their prolonged use and examines their contributory role in the property crash and resulting financial crisis in 2008. Prolonged interventions can result in extensive distortion of property market operations. As a result, interventions aimed at revitalising a failing market become embedded in market processes to the extent that they may contribute to a more general subsequent market failure.  This paper examines the recent experience in the use of tax incentives in urban regeneration in Dublin during the period 1986–2011. The effects of the property- and area-based tax incentive schemes initiated under the Finance Act of 1986 and Urban Renewal Act of 1986 are examined. The paper provides an overview of the benefits, costs, and impacts of the incentives from an urban development market perspective.  The tax schemes are examined in terms of the rationale for their introduction and their effectiveness in operation from the public exchequer perspective. This examination is placed in the context of current debates on urban regeneration and the use of fiscal incentives in an international perspective. In order to gain insight into the specific performance of the incentives in relation to policy objectives, selected interviews were carried out to obtain the opinions of policy makers and planning interests.

Published in Journal of Property Tax Assessment & Administration 9(2): 5-21

PDF: Role of Property Tax Incentives in Dublin


There’s been some discussion recently in the media about the siting of primary care centres (see these two stories today in the Irish Times, here and here).  Minister Roisin Shortall drew up a list of 20 priority locations, to which Minister James Reilly added 16 others and deleted one.  Apparently the list was drawn up using deprivation indices as the supporting evidence base.  Reilly felt that other factors needed to be used as well, such as location of existing health facilities and access to them.  The spat between the Ministers has led to suggestions of ‘stroke’ politics being employed by Reilly, who added two towns in his own constituency to the list both of which ranked lowly on Shortall’s list.

Now, in this age of evidence-based policy formulation and supposed transparency it would seem the logical thing for the Department of Health to do is to publish the data and and the algorithms/heuristics employed in its analysis to decide the location of the primary care centres.  That way everyone can assess the extent to which the list-making was in fact robustly evidence-informed.  If such a process was undertaken by both Shortall and Reilly and their teams then it should be relatively straightforward to publish as surely the data, analysis and argument exists, documented in memo/report form and held within a GIS.  And there should be no issues over confidentality as all the data will be aggregated and in the public domain already.  This should have been a relatively straightforward exercise – either use existing deprivation index data at Small Area or EA/ED area (based on Census data) and use access to health service data.  In fact both sets of data are freely available on the AIRO website as interactive maps (see here for deprivation, here for access to health services including hospitals, GPs, dentists and pharmacies).  And other data could be easily factored into this, including Northern Irish data for areas along the border and other socio-economic data.

I’m sure some convenient excuse will be made as to why the science and evidence underpinning the formulation of both lists of centres cannot be released to the public for wider scrutiny.  It would be nice, however, to be proved wrong and the evidence and analysis are released so we can assess the robustness of the data and investigation used to site new health care facilities (after all, the move to evidence-informed and transparent analysis is meant to ensure that decisions are open to scrutiny and clear to all).

Rob Kitchin

I’ve put together a set of data visualisations that collectively tell the story of the crisis in Ireland.  The slideshow below (click the 4 arrow symbol to enlarge) or the PDF accessed through this link provides graphs, maps and tables with respect to the following data drawn from a variety of sources including the CSO, Central Bank, NTMA, ESRI, DECLG, EU:

The crisis in Ireland in graphs and maps from robkitchin

GDP constant prices 2006-11

GNP constant prices 2006-11

Government expenditure 2006-11

Gross government debt 2006-11

General government debt 2000-2011

General government balance 2000-2011

Government revenue and spending 2002-12

Breakdown of government revenue and spending 2012

Budget adjustments 2008-2015

Troika bailout

Actual and contingent government debt 2011

Cost of the bank bailout per capita

Investment as a %GDP 1970-2010

Personal consumption expenditure 2006-11

Consumer price index 2007-12

Export of goods 2007-12

Import of goods 2007-12

Retail sales index 2007-12

New private cars licensed 2007-12

Numbers in employment 2007-11

Numbers on the Live Register 2007-12

Unemployment rate 2007-12

Average weekly earnings 2008-12

Household net worth 2004-12

Household debt 2004-12

Mortgage arrears 2009-12

Residential property prices 2007-12

Housing completions 1993-2011

Housing completions in Upper Shannon Rural Renewal Scheme 1970-2011

Mortgage volumes 2005-2012

Housing vacancy per ED 2011

Unfinished estates 2011

Tax revenue from property 2002-2011

Distribution of larger debtors in NAMA

I’d be grateful to know about other useful data visualisations – please provide a link the comment box below.

Rob Kitchin

We thought it might be useful to share a timeline of online television programmes and videos about the crisis in Ireland which we’ve assembled for a third year undergraduate module we co-teach, Geographies of the Crisis.  We have tried to use official channels where possible, otherwise the links are to uploaded YouTube videos that have been created by others.  Most of the videos relate to the crisis in general and banking, property and migration issues in particular, as well social movements and protest.  They all concern Ireland rather than the wider European and global financial crisis.  Over time we’ll keep adding to the resource.

Documenting and Explaining the Crisis

Prime Time debate.  What an earth is happening to house prices?  David McWilliams versus Austin Hughes, 16 October 2003, Part 1 , Part 2

Futureshock – Property Crash RTE programme on future of housing market, 16th April 2007

Prime Time on property bubble: soft landing or crash?  Morgan Kelly, UCD, and Jim Power, Friends First, debate the state of the property market in April 2007

Bertie Ahern tells naysayers to commit suicide, July 3, 2007

Primetime Investigates – “The Pressure Zone, Planning and land zoning, November 26th 2007

Prime Time on Bank Guarantee, Discussion by Brendan Keenan, Morgan Kelly, Kevin McConnell, 30 Sept 2008

Prime Time, Pat Neary, The Financial Regulator, 18th October 2008

Al Jazeera, Immigrants hit by Irish downturn, 26th November 2008

Primetime Special, RTE.  Banking crisis, 12th February 2009

RTE, How We Blew the Boom, documentary, March 2009 (YouTube version)

ABC Australia, Ireland feels full impact of global financial crisis, 4th March 2009

Prime Time Investigates, RTE. After the Goldrush.  The impact of the recession on ordinary families. 25th May 2009

Prime Time, NAMA 30th April 2009, 13th Aug 2009, 17th Sept 2009 and 3rd November 2009

Joseph Stiglitz on Nama, Nobel Prize winning economist Joe Stiglitz gives damning indictment of NAMA on RTE’s Prime Time, October 7th, 2009.

Prime Time Special, Emigration, 12th November 2009

RTE Primetime Investigates on the banking system: Meet the Bankers, 21st December 2009 (on YouTube, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6)

Primetime, RTE on debt and mortgage arrears, 2nd February 2010 (on YouTube, Part 1 , Part 2)

France 24 report, Leaving home: young Irish find the grass is greener 24th March 2010

Al Jazeera, Irish economy in sharp contraction, 26 Mar 09

RTE, Aftershock, week-long series of programmes seeking to capture the transformation over the previous 18 months, to take stock, and to try to identify ways to recover.

RTE, Ghostland documentary (part of Aftershock), 9th May 2010 (on YouTube, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5)

BBC News, ghost estate reports, May 2010 (report 1, report 2)

Prime Time, RTE, The property trap.  15th July 2010

Prime Time, RTE, A haunted landscape, 29th July 2010,

Reuters, ghost estates report, 30th July 2010

Prime Time, RTE, Second anniversary retrospective on bank guarantee scheme, 28th September 2010

Prime Time, RTE, Fiscal Flatline.  19th October 2010

TV3 News, Ghost Estates – Riverside Portarlington, Nov 2010

AFP, Ghost estates haunt Irish landscape, 26th November 2010

CNN report, Ireland haunted by ghost estates, 30th Sept 2010

Prime Time, RTE, Troika arrive The European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund have arrived in Dublin, 18 November 2010

Journeyman Pictures, Let Them Eat Cheese, November 2010

BBC News, World Have Your Say, Ireland economic special, 19th November 2010 (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

Prime Time, RTE, EU/IMF and Anglo Look at the fine print in the EU/IMF deal and how Anglo Irish Bank brought a country to the brink, 30th November 2010

France 24, Irish crisis: the spectre of emigration, 30th November 2010

ABC Australia, Journeyman Pictures, Irish Despair, 6th December 2010

Fintan O Toole, Fintan O’Toole on Ireland – Interviews 13th December, 2010,

Euronews, Ireland’s ghost estates, 10th December 2010

Prime Time Investigates.  Carry on Regardless, 21 Dec 2010.  How developers lives have been affected or not by the crash. (YouTube, Part 1, Part 2)

BBC Panorama, How to blow a fortune (Ireland’s real estate bust), 21st February 2011

ABC Australia, Journeyman Pictures, Goodbye My Ireland, 28th February 2011

Geophiles report, Ghost towns, 30th March 2011

Prime Time, RTE, Home Truths on negative equity, 5th April 2011

Prime Time, RTE, Bank Rupture, Nyberg Report, 19th April 2011

Prime Time, RTE, Regeneration, May 3rd 2011

Prime Time, RTE, Quinn versus Anglo, 14th June 2011

Prime Time, RTE, Namaland.  6th September 2011 (on YouTube)

PressTV, On the Edge, Irish economic crisis, 23rd September 2011

Immanuel Wallerstein, Capitalism Collapse? ‘Cash grab system cannot survive storm’, 9th October 2011

US Debt Crisis – Perfectly Explained

Prime Time, RTE, What lies beneath.  Priory Hall, 18th October 2011

AFP, Ireland considers new law to reposess ghost estates, 24th October 2011

Joseph Stiglitz, Lessons from Iceland’s Economic Crisis, 26th October, 2011

RTWEthepeople, Decisions that Shaped the Irish Economy with Conor McCabe, 30th October 2011

INET Economics, Stephen Kinsella – Irish Crisis Demands New Economic Thinking, 29th November 2011

Prime Time Special, One year on the bailout, 28th November 2011

Joseph Stiglitz on Ireland, Stiglitz on Ireland, 6th December 2011

Prime Time, RTE, Troika Time, January 19th 2012

Al Jazeera, Collapse of the Celtic Tiger January 19th 2012

Punk Economics, David McWilliams series, January-July 2012 (Lesson 1: Crisis in Ireland and Europe; Lesson 2: ECB’s massive cash for trash scheme; Lesson 3: Playing games with liquidity; Lesson 4: Irish Referendum Preview; Lesson 5: China Panics, US ‘Recovers’ and Germany Flinches

Prime Time, RTE, New Departures on emigration, March 15th 2012

Prime Time, RTE, The Mahon Report – The Tribunal, March 2012 (on YouTube in general, re. Bertie Ahern)

Robert Skidelsky, The Impact of the Global Economic Crisis on the Future of International Relations, April 2012

IIEA, Karl Whelan on Ireland’s Bank Debt and What Can be Done About It? – 29 June 2012

Tom Healy, Nevin Economic Research Institute, Claiming Our Future Launch Plan B, 25th June 2012

Longford Leader, First NAMA property demolished, 24th July 2012

Social movement/protest

BBC report on protests, February 21st 2009:

The March – Documenting the march against the IMF bailout, 2nd December, 2010,

PRI: Ireland’s woes through the lens of art, 7th Dec 2010

Pretty Vacant, PrettyvacanT, Permission to LandUnused and Unloved, Shoot the Tiger, April 2011-July 2012

Darragh Byrne Videography, Occupy Dame Street, 22nd October 2011;

Spectacle of Defiance and Hope in Dublin, 3rd December 2011,

Naomi Klein, Fake “Debt Crisis/Bankruptcy”: We are NOT Bankrupt! Tax the Rich! 7th October 2011,

RTWEthepeople, Audit NAMA, 23rd Nov 2011, €1.4bn house is a work of art, 24th January 2012

Irish ‘Occupy Dame Street’ protesters removed, 8th March 2012

Romantic Ireland, Romantic Ireland from the Streets, 17th March 2012

Dole TV, Unlock NAMA, 4th April 2012

Mandate: Vote No to the Austerity Treaty, 21 May 2012, Claiming our Future, Plan B, 26th June 2012

TASC: Fr Peter McVerry: New economic model must involve a more just sharing of power as well as wealth, June 2012

Rap Nuacht na hEireann, Episode 1, 24th July 2012

Radio Documentaries

BBC Radio 4, Olivia O´Leary on economic crisis and post-crash identity, June 12, 2009 (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

BBC Radio 4, Dan O’Brien, Bailout Boys go to Dublin, 24th April 2011

Newstalk, Deserted village Documentary by Jane Ruffino.  24th March 2012

If you have any suggestions for other programmes/clips to include please put in a link in the comments box.

Rob Kitchin and Rory Hearne

Obama versus Romney 2012:
Domestic and international perspectives on the US Presidential race

Renehan Hall, South Campus, NUI Maynooth
Friday, October 5th: 10am-3.30pm
All Welcome.  No attendance fee.  To register to attend please contact


Confirmed speakers

Prof. Phil Abbott, Wayne State University: Obama, Romney and the Outsider Strategy
Prof. Abbott has written eleven books on the US presidency and presidential politics and is a distinguished professor of Political Science.

Harry Browne, DIT: The US Paradox: strong partisan cleavage in politics, narrow bipartisan consensus in government

Prof. Gary Murphy, DCU: How the Republicans became Democrats and vice versa

Prof. Charles Pattie, Sheffield University: TBA

Dr Adrian Kavanagh, NUI Maynooth: Red states, blue states, purple states: Why the where matters in US presidential elections


Sponsored by: Centre for the Study of Wider Europe, Geographical Society of Ireland, the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis, and the Irish Social Sciences Platform.

Rob Kitchin

The folks at AIRO have just updated the National Census Mapping Viewer with the latest data on highest level of education achieved. The mapping tool now provides data at ED and SA level for the following variables:

  • No Formal Education
  • Primary only
  • Lower Secondary
  • Higher Secondary
  • All Secondary
  • Technical or Vocational
  • Third level Degree
  • Postgraduate Degree
  • PhD
  • All Third level

The maps below provide some examples for Limerick City, National level and Dublin local authorities

Map 1: No Formal Education in Limerick City

Map 2: Primary Education only at national level 

Map 3: Postgraduate level in Dublin

You can access the National Census Mapping Viewer here:

To view all our other census mapping tools click here: AIRO Census home page

Over the next week we are going to add to the other themes and have organised a release schedule as follows:

  • Principal Economic Status, Industry of Employment and Occupation: Wednesday, 5th Sept
  • Housing, Transport and Communication: Friday, 7th Sept
  • Health and Disability: Monday, 10th September

AIRO has also been working on the Irish Times feeder schools data and been mapping catchments for Universities and IT’s across the island. See an earlier post on this here or view the the Feeder Schools mapping tool here.