Firstly I would ask (in vain), that the various anti-immigration agenda monkeys would please leave this thread alone, seeing as it is based on fantasy with a little wishful thinking about future population growth. If you can't leave it alone, at least act with some civility.
Year Population %Change 2011 4.58m +7.4 2006 4.24m +8.1 2002 3.92m +8.2 1996 3.63m +2.9 1991 3.53m -(0.6) 1986 3.54m +2.8 1981 3.44m +2.3 1979 3.37m +13.2 1971 2.98m +3.2 1966 2.88m +2.3 1961 2.82m -(2.7) 1956 2.90m -(2.2) 1951 2.96m +0.3 1946 2.96m -(0.5) 1936 2.97m -(0.2) 1926 2.97m -(5.4) 1911 3.14m -(2.6) 1901 3.22m -(7.1) 1891 3.47m -(10.3) 1881 3.87m -(4.5) 1871 4.05m -(5.7) 1861 4.40m -(13.9) 1851 5.11m -(21.7) 1841 6.53m
The graph and the table above give raw information to what we already know. A dependence on a single crop, compounded by political, religious, social and economic issues exacerbated the disaster that was the Great Potato Famine. I'm not the right person to give any opinions on why the population continued to fall until it started to recover at the latter part of the 20th century. Other people can comment on that.
What I am interested in however, is what people think the population of the Republic would be at this stage, if the potato blight was not as severe or if the exodus of emigration was reduced. Personally, I think a population of about 12 to 14m would be a reasonable guess. So basically, up to three times the population we have now. The population of the Greater Dublin area would be about 5m alone. Our economy would be completely different, as the larger population would drive a stronger and more competitive domestic economy.
This destruction of our population base made us unique in Europe. Thankfully these days the reverse is true. Regardless of our onerous recession, we are still showing exceptionally strong population growth demographics.
Fiona Muldoon of the Central Bank was once asked what positives there were to be had in Ireland in the light of our financial sector, and the debts inherent in the domestic and business system. Her answer was to highlight our strong population growth, because it was the only positive growth we could depend upon in the next few years.
This is the positive thing. We are experiencing a population boom not just in births but also with immigration. It may well be the only positive we have over the next 5 years. Regardless of the foibles of the current government, the rest of the world will eventually recover. Exports will lead the way, and a new domestic economy will emerge from what's left of the Armageddon behind it.
That being the case. What should our population be? Should we aim to increase it to 10-12m by 2040 or beyond? Should this growth come for EU citizens only or should we be more accommodating to all nationalities? What do you think?