Impact of COVID-19 on Irish Regions
Having been one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union in recent years, the Irish economic landscape has profoundly changed due to the outbreak of Covid-19 according to a recent report.
A report on the impact of COVID-19 on the Irish regions has highlighted a profound exposure of the local and regional economy. Published by the Regional Assemblies of Ireland, the report provides up-to-date data on the economic disruption caused by the outbreak to regions, counties and cities.
The three Regional Assemblies have a leadership role in regional development, working with key stakeholders at EU, national, regional and local levels. They are charged with implementing the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies for their respective regions in order to deliver on the aims of Project Ireland 2040.
Using data from the GeoDirectory commercial dataset and the “COVID-19 Exposure Ratio” - the total number of commercial units operating in the sectors most likely to be worst affected, as a proportion of its total commercial stock of September 2019 - the report assesses the likelihood of exposure to significant economic disruption on the regions, counties and cities of Ireland.
Sectors identified include, construction, wholesale and retail, accommodation and food services, arts, entertainment and recreation services, childcare, quarrying and mining, and hair, beauty and wellbeing services. With over 70,000 units operating in these sectors nationally, the country has a COVID-19 Exposure Rate of 46%.
The Southern Region is the second most exposed region at 47.2%, with the Northern and Western worst exposed at 48%, while the Eastern and Midland region had the lowest at 43%. At sub-regional level, the Border and Midlands are worst exposed while Dublin fares the best. The South-East, South-West and Mid-West have slightly higher exposure than the regional and national rates.
According to the report, coastal and rural counties and towns are more likely to be exposed to significant disruption from the outbreak as their reliance on commercial units generally need human interaction.
Cllr. Joe Carroll, Cathaoirleach of the Southern Regional Assembly said, “The report aims to inform policy makers at local, regional and national level on the extent of economic exposure and resilience across Ireland. We need evidence-based solutions now more than ever to support our regions, counties and towns. The Assemblies are fully committed to tackling challenges and supporting economic recovery at regional level, in line with the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies principle of building economic resilience.”
The Southern Regional Assembly are key stakeholders in the project the Interreg Europe Project FOUNDATION. The Foundation project brings together 9 regions across Europe who are sharing policies, initiatives and evidence-based solutions to develop economic resilience through collaboration. Dr John Hobbs who co-ordinates FOUNDATION for Lead Partner Cork Institute of Technology believes “the Covid-19 Regional Economic Analysis provides the data required to ensure that policy makers at local, regional and national level are aware of the most economically impacted areas across Ireland and will therefore be better equipped to ensure supports for industry can reach these businesses at this critical time”.