This is a great week for Ireland. 

The ESRI has just published a new report on the massive population growth expected in the country over the next few years. Population growth is something to be welcomed – it means things are going in the right direction.

The main findings of this report are that over the years 2015 to 2030:

  • The population of Ireland is projected to grow by between 14 to 23 per cent adding 640,000 to 1.1 million people;
  • The share of population aged 65 and over is projected to increase from one in eight to one in six;
  • Numbers of people aged 85 and over are projected to almost double;
  • Demand for health and social care is projected to increase across all sectors, with the greatest increases for services for older people;
  • Demand for home help care and for residential and intermediate care places in nursing homes and other settings is projected to increase by up to 54 per cent;
  • Demand for public hospital services is projected to increase by up to 37 per cent for inpatient bed days and up to 30 per cent for inpatient cases;
  • Demand for GP visits is projected to increase by up to 27 per cent.

While the ESRI focuses on the problems and challenges, why not look at the positives?

We will have more dynamism, more demand and more diversity. A growing population will mean that we will have to plan better and this will increase the pressure to do dramatic things like moving Dublin Port, higher density building and forcing the rejuvenation of our neglected cities.