The Teagasc Index of Rural Towns has found that a third of the population living in rural areas of Ireland have been most affected by the economic crisis.
Teagasc Head of Rural Economy and Development, Prof Cathal O’Donoghue highlighted a “huge variation” between the economically strong and weak towns, in terms of unemployment rates, tertiary education levels, unoccupied housing and migration rates. “These rural towns have had a lower focus in national development strategies over the past decade and a half.”
Dr David Meredith Teagasc Senior Research Officer highlighted that many of the weaker towns (Oldcastle, Co. Meath; Gort, Co. Galway; Abbeyfeal Co. Limerick) are located on the edges of the commuter belts associated with cities or are in places that are experiencing long-term economic restructuring (Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon and New Ross, Co. Wexford).
The Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA) report, due this week, will aim to define recommendations for the economic development of Ireland’s rural areas having researched the impact of the recession in counties Mayo, Donegal, Cork, Waterford Kerry and Limerick.