As the number of office workers grows in Dublin the pressure on creating suitable office space is increasing.

A shortage of Dublin office space as the work force moves from industry to office work.

An Foras Forbartha has recently published a report stating that Dublin city is no longer an attractive prospect for growing companies to have offices in.

Dublin office space is at a premium. Anything from £3 to £6 a square foot.

In addition to this, there are growing traffic and parking problems in the city, painting a grim picture for office commuters who are spending more time getting to and from work. 

Seven hours a week on average is what most people use up getting to and from work.

33% of a sample of 203 companies based in Dublin city say that they would prefer to move to the suburbs if the accommodation was there. Dr Michael Bannon of An Foras Forbartha outlines how office employment has evolved over the years with around 160,000 office workers in Ireland. 

Over the past 25 years, office employment has increased by about 100%.

Over half of this increase has occurred in and around the Dublin area. 

Outside the city centre, ESSO created a precedent and moved outside the city to Stillorgan, where they still have plenty of room to expand and parking is not a problem. The Bank of Ireland Computer Centre has been established in Cabinteely employing around 250 people with room to expand and park.

An Foras Forbartha says the demand for office space is a direct result of automation and the decrease in the need for production staff, staff who now fill the offices of the city.  

Although automation in industry may quickly replace workers and while some routine office jobs may be automated, the number of skilled personel required tends to increase and the trend is likely to continue.

Education too has improved with the number of students completing the Leaving Certificate increasing by 650% in the last thirty years. In the same period, the number of university students has nearly trebled and most of these graduates have been educated with a view to carrying out office type work. 

An Foras Forbartha would like to see the development of more office units in the provinces, outside the urban hub of Dublin. However, Professor Geoffrey Copcutt has produced another report recommending the borough of Dun Laoghaire as an ideal location for office development. The fact that over a third of office workers already live and work in the Dun Laoghaire area "reflects the functions of a capital city". Professor Copcutt would like to see the development of  satellite garden cities on the outer perimeter of Dublin. 

Redevelopment has already begun in Dun Laoghaire with a multistorey office block in development on George's Street which involves the demolition of a row of shops and hotels.

Professor Copcutt says that there is a corresponding need for a complete change in Dublin's transportation infrastructure and pedestrian system. This would lead to greater productivity if workers don't have to spend an hour a day commuting to and from work. Professor Copcutt also refutes any possibility that Dun Laoghaire could become an executive slum. 

This episode of 'Tangents' was broadcast on 17 October 1973. The reporter is Cathal O'Shannon.