Will it work?

Ex­pert eval­u­a­tion

The Irish Times - Weekend Review - - NEWS REVIEW -

Caro­line Spil­lane, En­gi­neers Ire­land

This idea has def­i­nite merit. There are very many ex­am­ples of this model work­ing in Europe and fur­ther afield. Dublin city com­petes with nu­mer­ous cities over­seas and it is im­por­tant for Dublin to have in­vest­ment so that it can com­pete on an in­ter­na­tional level. If Dublin could raise its own fi­nances, this might free up cap­i­tal for in­vest­ment from cen­tral govern­ment in other ar­eas of the coun­try. How­ever, there will al­ways be an ef­fec­tive sub­ven­tion from the cap­i­tal to other ar­eas, where pro­vid­ing ser­vices such as broad­band re­quires more in­vest­ment.

Cliff Tay­lor, eco­nom­ics colum­nist

An in­ter­est­ing one. This re­quires a fun­da­men­tal re­cast­ing of the role and pow­ers of a lo­cal au­thor­ity. Debt rais­ing has been the pre­serve of na­tional govern­ment. This again re­quires pow­ers to de­volve from the cen­tre to lo­cal level. The cost is hard to quan­tify. It is im­por­tant to en­sure that Dublin debt would not cost more to raise than na­tional debt. And this re­quires a guar­an­teed in­come flow to make re­pay­ments. Lo­cal prop­erty tax would be one source, but more rev­enue rais­ing pow­ers would need to de­volve to Dublin as well. The idea of lo­cal peo­ple in­vest­ing in bonds from their lo­cal area is in­ter­est­ing. Would the ben­e­fit out­weigh the cost? It would all de­pend on the ef­fi­ciency of rais­ing the money and of spend­ing it. It is un­likely to fly po­lit­i­cally in a coun­try where Dublin is al­ready seen as get­ting the bulk of the eco­nomic re­cov­ery div­i­dend. But some way needs to be found to ad­dress the huge in­vest­ment deficit in Dublin more quickly.

Frances Ruane, for­mer ESRI di­rec­tor

This idea fo­cuses on new fi­nan­cial re­sources. Many cities is­sue bonds suc­cess­fully, so there is good ev­i­dence on how this might work in Dublin and there is ex­per­tise na­tion­ally (in the Na­tional Trea­sury Man­age­ment Agency, for ex­am­ple) that could be drawn on. But the first step is to have the right projects for fund­ing and Dublin City Coun­cil is start­ing from a very chal­leng­ing place, given the boom/crash/boom se­quence since 2000. As­sum­ing that the right projects were iden­ti­fied, the cost of im­ple­ment­ing this pro­posal should not be sig­nif­i­cant.

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