Southern & Eastern Regional Assembly




Irish Cities and Towns at a Glance

An important new online interactive tool which examines the socio-economic performance of Ireland’s Gateways and Hubs cities and towns is now available following a launch in the Custom House, Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government today, Friday 21st February. The interactive tool tells the story at an easy glance as to how the Cities and Towns designated as Gateways and Hubs under the National Spatial Strategy (NSS) are performing in terms of economic and social development. The dashboard or interactive tool is available on the Regional Assemblies websites ([1] and[2]).

The Index was published by the Border, Midland and Western (BMW) Regional Assembly and the Southern and Eastern (S&E) Regional Assembly and can be now accessed on the All-Island Research Observatory (AIRO) data platform hosted by the National Institute for Regional, Spatial and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA) at NUI Maynooth. The Regional Assemblies collaborated with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government in the production of the Index and the next phase will see the development of a mapping module which will be embedded in the Department’s myplan[3] website.

The Index establishes what is termed the functional area of each of the urban centres studied.  This methodology acknowledges that the economic reach of the cities and towns extends beyond the administrative boundaries and includes a number of contiguous electoral districts. While the geographic reach is subject to change over time based on development factors the Index provides a valuable aid for policy-makers as to the influence the urban core has on its hinterland. Spatial and socio-economic planning can benefit from this analysis, allowing for a greater emphasis on place-making planning policies to enable a more informed approach to managing diverse growth patterns, agglomeration effects and developmental challenges.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Stephen Blair, Director of the S&E Regional Assembly said “given the vast amount of useful data contained in the Development Index we were very keen to bring it to a wider audience to make the material as accessible as possible. Therefore we were delighted to work with our colleagues in NUI Maynooth who are experts in this area of presenting complex data in an attractive and understandable fashion, using modern computer technology. We hope that the fruits of this collaboration in the form of this dashboard will be widely used”

Mr Gerry Finn, Director, BMW Regional Assembly welcoming the addition of the online tool, said “the update of the Index has resulted in the collation of a rich seam of data that merits sharing on as wide a basis as possible. The dashboard represents our commitment towards open source data sharing arising from the Gateways and Hubs study and brings the data to as wide an audience as possible”.

Speaking at the launch, Prof Jim Walsh, Vice President, NUI Maynooth said “This valuable new digital resource is an important step forward in understanding and monitoring the development of our key cities, towns and associated hinterlands. The results from the Index will allow for far greater integrated and informed decision making and more accurate forward planning. Disseminating the results in such an accessible format will also encourage an increased level of citizen engagement in the planning and development process.”

Note to Editors

The Gateways of Dundalk, Galway, Letterkenny, Midland and Sligo and four Hubs, Hub Ballina-Castlebar (linked Hub) Cavan, Monaghan and Tuam are located in the BMW Region. The Gateways of Cork, Dublin, Limerick-Shannon and Waterford are located in the S&E Region as are the Hub towns of Ennis, Kilkenny, Tralee-Killarney (linked Hub), Mallow and Wexford.

Future Analytics Consulting was commissioned by the Border, Midland and Western Regional Assembly and the Southern and Eastern Regional Assembly to update the Gateway Development Index 2009. The resulting Gateways and Hubs Development Index (GHDI) 2012 was published in May 2013 and was launched by Ms Jan O’Sullivan, T.D. Minister of State, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government with special responsibility for Housing and Planning

Please contact:

Stephen Blair, S&E Regional Assembly, T: +353 51 860700

Gerry Finn, BMW Regional Assembly, T: + 353 94 986 2970

Derville Brennan, S&E Regional Assembly, M: + 353 87 7793755

Adrian O’Donoghue, BMW Regional Assembly, M: + 353 87 212 0307