Use the links below to navigate to further information about each publication. Adobe Reader is required to view these documents.


Home-Based Working in the Western Region

This WDC Insights is the third in a series examining the current nature of work, focussing on work which occurs away from the traditional ‘workplace’ and is often home based. Working at or from home can take different forms. The WDC Policy Briefing No.7 e-Working: A Review of the Evidence, examined the extent of e-Working in the Western Region among those in traditional employer-employee relationships. The WDC Insights ‘New Work’ – the Gig economy in the Western Region, examined the extent and nature of the gig economy in the Western Region. This WDC Insights examines the data on those people who work ‘mainly at or from home’.

Download it here (267 KB): WDC Insights Home-Based Working July 2017

Census 2016-The Western Region – Infographic

This is the first in a series of infographics to be published using data from the Census and focusing on the Western Region – the seven counties under the remit of the WDC.  This infographic makes some key regional statistics from the Census 2016 Summary Results Part 1 available in an easily accessible manner.

Download the infographic here (PDF 1.4MB) Census2016

The National Planning Framework and Regional Inequalities

The WDC was invited to present to a conference on Irish Planning held in Dublin on the 14th June.  A key theme of the conference was the proposed National Planning Framework – what it could and should look like, and the WDC presented on the theme; The National Planning Framework and Regional Inequalities.

Download the presentation here (PDF 2MB) The NPF and Regional Inequalities WDC Presentation Planning Conference 14th June

Regional Growth- rural areas, towns and cities

This WDC Insights provides a short discussion of some of the points made in the submission to the consultation on the National Planning Framework (NPF) about cities, towns and rural areas and the opportunities their development presents for Ireland’s economy and society as a whole.

Download it here (PDF 239 KB): WDC June 2017- Regional Growth, rural areas, towns and cities

‘New Work’ – the Gig economy in the Western Region

This two page WDC Insights examines how broadband and online platforms have enabled new forms of work and income generation to emerge.
Variously termed the Gig economy, ‘sharing economy’, ‘crowd working’ and ‘uberisation’, this WDC Insights examines some of the evidence on the extent to which Gig economy exists in the Western Region.

Download it here (254 KB):  WDC Insights New Work – the Gig economy in the WR May_2017

WDC Submission to Ireland 2040 – Our Plan: National Planning Framework 

In response to the Ireland 2040 Our Plan: Issues and Choices public consultation process for the National Planning Framework (NPF), the WDC prepared a comprehensive submission. The WDC submission considers the issues raised in the NPF consultation document from the perspective of the Western Region, the needs of the region, the opportunities its development presents for Ireland’s economy and society as a whole and the choices, investments and policy required to achieve regional growth and resilience.  It is structured as follows:

  1. Key issues for the NPF
  2. Summary of the key points from the WDC’s answers to the consultation questions
  3. Detailed answers to the questions

Download a summary of the submission (PDF 0.7 MB) NPF-WDC Submission-Summary-March 2017

Download the full submission (PDF 4.5 MB) NPF-WDC Submission-Full Submission-March 2017

e-Working Policy Brief No. 7  e-Working in the Western Region: A Review of the Evidence

This WDC Policy Briefing examines the extent of e-work in the Western Region as well as identifying recommendations on how e-working
can be further promoted.

Download the Policy Brief  (PDF 748KB)  WDC_Policy Briefing no 7

The WDC prepared a series of case studies from the Western Region of e-working in practice, some of which, but not all are included in the e-Working Policy Briefing No. 7.  They can be downloaded at the following link:

Download Case Studies (PDF 484KB) WDC_Policy e-Work Case Studies

WDC Insights on the Western Region

On 30 January, the WDC was invited to give a presentation to officials of the Department of Social Protection working across the Western Region, providing an overview of the WDC’s analysis of a range of socio-economic issues.  This comprehensive presentation analyses:

  1. Population: Preliminary Census 2016 Results
  2. Labour Market: QNHS Q1 2016
  3. Income: County Incomes & Regional GDP, 2013-2014
  4. Enterprise: Business Demography, 2014

Download the presentation (PDF, 2MB) WDC Insights Presentation DSP-30.01.2017- final

WDC Policy Analysis 2016twittergraphic16_12_16low_res-01

The activities of the WDC Policy Analysis team during 2016 included publishing 42 blog posts and 6 WDC Insights publications. This infographic summarises the main highlights for the year.

Download the infographic (PDF 2.7 MB) wdc-policy-analysis-2016-infographic


This is the Western Region- Infographic infographic-small-shot

The WDC Policy Analysis Team has produced an infographic highlighting a variety of Western Region statistics

Download it here (PDF 1.4MB) wdc_infographiclow_res

Preliminary Results Census 2016: RoscommonPresentation on Preliminary Census results for Roscommon

On 8 December, the WDC made a presentation to a meeting of Roscommon Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) on its analysis of the Preliminary Results of Census 2016 for Co Roscommon.

Download (PDF 0.8MB) prelim-census-2016-presentation-roscommon-lcdc-08-12-16-web

WDC Insights: Census 2016 – Preliminary results for the Western Region  insights-prelim-census-cover

This  two page WDC Insights summarises key findings of the preliminary results of the 2016 Census of Population for the Western Region. It examines population change, migration and gender variations.

Download it here (PDF 249kB) wdc-insights-nov_2016-preliminary-census-results

Preliminary Results Census 2016- analysis of results for the Western Region

In April 2016 the Central Statistics Office of Ireland (CSO) conducted a Census of Population.  The full results of Census 20report-cover16 will be published over the course of 2017 but is  July of this year, the CSO published preliminary results of the Census.

This Western Development Commission (WDC) report analyses the preliminary results for the seven county Western Region (Clare, Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo).  The indicators examined are:

  1. Geographical Population Change
  2. Components of Population Change
  3. Housing

Download the report (PDF 1.2MB) preliminary-results-census-2016-wdc-report

Download a short presentation (PDF 510kB) prelim-census-2016-presentation-wdc-board-25-10-16

Presentation to Clare Local Development Companycover-of-presentation

On 13 October, the WDC was invited to make a presentation on supports and services provided by the WDC at an information session organised by Clare Local Development Company for its enterprise and community clients.  Two presentations were made: Western Development Commission; and Western Investment Fund.

Download western-development-commission-presentation-for-clare-ldc-13-10-16-1-3mb

Download western-investment-fund-presentation-to-clare-ldc-13-10-16-0-5mb

WDC Insights: Enterprise Profile of the Western Region enterprise-profile-of-the-western-region-cover-image

The latest in our WDC Insights series examines the enterprise profile of the Western Region, drawing on the CSO’s Business Demography data for 2014 (latest available).  This data examines active enterprises in the business economy and this WDC Insights outlines the current structure of the region’s enterprise base as well as tracking the performance of enterprises by sector since 2008.

Download wdc-insights-enterprise-profile-of-the-western-region-sept-2016-0-3mb

WDC Insights: Enterprise in Western Counties enterprise-in-western-counties-cover-image

This WDC Insights examines the enterprise profile of the seven counties of the Western Region, drawing on the CSO’s Business Demography data for 2014 (latest available).  This data examines active enterprises in the business economy and this WDC Insights outlines the current structure of the each county’s enterprise base as well as tracking the performance of enterprises by sector since 2008.

Download wdc-insights-enterprise-in-western-counties-sept-2016-0-3mb

WDC Insights: Impact of Sectors on Western Region’s Jobs RecoveryWDC Insights-Impact of Sectors-image

The Western Region’s slower jobs recovery since 2012 has mainly been caused by contraction in employment in market services sectors, compared with growth in the rest of the state.  This new WDC Insights publication examines the impact of sectors on recent jobs trends.

Download WDC Insights-Impact of Sectors on WR Jobs Recovery-May 2016 (PDF 0.3MB)

WDC Insights: Jobs Recovery and the Western RegionWDC Insights-Jobs Recovery & Western Region-cover image

Ireland has been experiencing a gradual recovery in employment since 2012.  While jobs growth is occurring in the Western Region, it is not following the same pattern, nor occurring at the same rate, as elsewhere. This new WDC Insights publication examines some of the distinctive aspects of the Western Region’s labour market during 2012-2015.

Download WDC Insights-Jobs Recovery and the Western Region-Apr 2016 (PDF 0.2MB)

WDC Insights Rail Freight: A More Sustainable Transport Option

Rail Freight Insights image 1

This summary WDC Insights highlights some of the findings of a report published by the WDC in late 2015: Rail freight in the Western Region. It highlights the potential for reducing emissions and easing congestion on the road network by moving some freight from road to rail.

Download  WDC Insights here PDF 245 KB

Update on Broadband policy and Next Generation Broadband in the Western RegionBroadband pic 2 for Insights blog

The WDC was asked to present an Update on Broadband policy and Next Generation Broadband in the Western Region, by Roscommon CoCo.  This presentation provides an overview of the situation, describing developments and public policy over the last ten years as well as giving an overview of the current situation and the timelines and outlook for the rollout of Next Generation Broadband in rural areas.

Download Presentation here PPT 1791 KB


Rail Freight and the Western Region

Three of the four rail freight services currently in operation start or finish in the Western Region.
The WDC commissioned this Study investigating the potential for new rail freight traffic serving the Western Region and to identify the policies needed to support a greater modal shift to rail freight.

Download WDC Rail Freight Study Final Report

What is a creative momentum project? Image of presentation cover

The WDC is the lead partner of a new project to support the development of the creative industries sector across region’s on the Northern Edge of Europe.  The new transnational, three-year, €2m project is call Creative Momentum and is co-funded by the EU Interreg Northern Periphery & Arctic Programme.  This presentation, given at the Project Launch on 29 October, outlines the activities the project will deliver.

Download what is a creative momentum project-Pauline White-29.10.2015 (PDF 3MB)

New Employment Trends in Co Roscommon Image Roscommon Education Fair 2015

Workshop presentation given at ‘Roscommon Education & Training Fair’, 21 October 2015.  The presentation gives an overview of current employment patterns and trends in county Roscommon and the wider Western Region.  It also provides an update on national vacancies and skill shortages.

Download New Employment Trends-Roscommon-WDC-21.10.15 (PDF, 0.8MB)

Spatial Strategies: a place for rural regions?RSA pres pic

This presentation was given at the Regional Studies Association Irish Branch Annual Conference New Directions for Regional Development Policy in Ireland Friday 4 September 2015, University College Cork.

The presentation discusses the issues for, and place of, rural areas in the forthcoming National Planning Framework and the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies and highlights the importance of a clear implementation strategy in any spatial planning policy.

Download Spatial Strategies: a place for rural regions?RSA 2015 WDC 4.09.15 (PDF 1.2MB)

WDC Insights Trends in County Incomes in the Western Region Insights inocme pic

This short WDC Insights highlights some of the trends in County Income in the Western  Region which were examined in the report Regional Income and Output. The county income data allows useful comparison among counties and show trends over time.

Download WDC Insights-Trends in County Incomes-Oct 2015 (PDF 0.2MB)

WDC Insights Trends in Regional OutputInsights GDP picture

This WDC Insights presents key data and analysis of trends in regional GVA. This provides a measure of  the output and economic activity of each region and allows comparison among regions in Ireland and internationally and shows the relative changes among regions over time.

Download WDC Insights- Trends in regional GDP_Oct 2015 (PDF 0.2MB) (PDF 0.2MB)

Regional Income and Output

Regl income Output report image

County level data on household and per capita disposable incomes is released every year by the CSO alongside data on Gross Value Added (GVA) at a regional level.  This report provides a summary of key figures and trends. County Income data allows us to compare incomes among counties in the Western Region and to examine trends over time. The GVA data at regional level is important for tracking regional output levels and trends as well as changes among regions.

Download the report Regional Income and Output-2012 (PDF 1.5MB)

Employment Trends in Mayo & Western Region Cover page of Jobs presentation Mayo

Workshop presentation given at ‘Education, Training & Jobseekers Expo’, Ballina, Co Mayo, 2 September 2015.  The presentation gives an overview of current employment patterns and trends in county Mayo and the wider Western Region.  It also provides an update on national vacancies and skill shortages.

Download New Employment Trends in Mayo-Ballina Jobs Expo-WDC 02.09.15 (PDF, 1MB)

Developing the Western Region’s Creative & Cultural SectorImage cover page for WDC website

This presentation gives an update on the WDC’s activities to support the development of the Western Region’s creative sector. It includes an overview of the region’s creative and cultural sector, the website, the new Creative Momentum project, Yeats2015 and the WDC’s micro-loan fund.  It was given at this year’s Douglas Hyde Conference on 16 July, organised by Roscommon County Council and supported by the WDC.

Download Douglas Hyde conference 2015-Pauline White WDC for website

WDC Insights The Western Region’s Sectoral ProfileThe Western Region's Sectoral Profile-Cover

This WDC Insights presents the key findings on the Western Region’s sectoral pattern of employment from the report ‘The Western Region’s Labour Market 2004-2014’.  It analyses the share of the region’s jobs in each economic sector in 2014 as well as the Western Region’s share of all jobs nationally in each sector. Trends over 2004-2014 and the most recent jobs performance of sectors in the region are also examined.

Download WDC Insights-The Western Region’s Sectoral Profile-April 2015 (PDF 0.2MB)

WDC Insights The Western Region’s Labour MarketWDC Insights-Labour Market-Cover image

This short WDC Insights highlights some of the main labour market findings of the report ‘The Western Region’s Labour Market 2004-2014’. It identifies the key labour force, employment and unemployment characteristics of the Western Region.

Download WDC Insights-The Western Region’s Labour Market-April 2015 (PDF 0.2MB)

The Western Region’s Labour Market 2004-2014WDC report-Western Region's Labour Market-cover image

Understanding the region’s labour market is essential to developing effective job creation, enterprise and skills policy.  This WDC report analyses the Western Region’s labour market, based on a special run of data from the CSO’s QNHS for 2004-2014. It examines labour force participation, part-time and self-employment, the sectoral and occupational jobs profile of the region and unemployment.

Download The Western Region’s Labour Market 2004-2014-WDC Report March 2015 (PDF 2.5MB)

Download The Western Region’s Labour Market 2004-2014-Executive Summary-WDC Report March 2015 (PDF 1MB)

WDC Insights-Trends in Agency Assisted-Cover imageTrends in Agency Assisted Employment in the Western Region

Employment in businesses which have received support from one of the main enterprise agencies, which are usually export oriented, is termed agency assisted employment.

The WDC has analysed data on these businesses for the Western Region for the period 2004-2013. The aim is to provide useful insights for enterprise, job creation and regional development policy.

Download 2-page WDC Insights-Trends in Agency Assisted Employment in the Western Region-January 2015 (PDF 241KB)

Download full report Trends in Agency Assisted Employment in the Western Region-WDC Report-January 2015 (PDF 3.30MB)

Download county profiles:

Trends in Agency Assisted Employment-Galway-WDC Report-January 2015 (PDF 631KB)

Trends in Agency Assisted Employment-Clare-WDC Report-January 2015 (PDF 622KB)

Trends in Agency Assisted Employment-Mayo-WDC Report-January 2015 (PDF 630KB)

Trends in Agency Assisted Employment-Donegal-WDC Report-January 2015 (PDF 642KB)

Trends in Agency Assisted Employment-Sligo-WDC Report-January 2015 (PDF 629KB)

Trends in Agency Assisted Employment-Roscommon-WDC Report-January 2015 (PDF 625KB)

Trends in Agency Assisted Employment-Leitrim-WDC Report-January 2015 (PDF 618KB)


Regional Population Projections 2016-2031

Image of Insights Pop ProjectionsThe Western Development Commission (WDC) has published new analysis of the latest CSO Regional Population Projections 2016-2031.

The WDC report shows that while population is projected to increase across all regions over the period to 2031, it is also set to become more concentrated.

All regions are projected to experience a reduction in their share of the national population with the exception of the Greater Dublin Area which is projected to increase its share of national population from 39.2% of the population in 2011 to 42.3% in 2031.

The population of working age is also set to become more concentrated with the West and Border the only regions with a projected decline in the population of working age. This has significant implications for future economic growth and development across regions.

Download two page WDC Insights summary  (PDF 258KB)

or the full WDC report (PDF 236 KB)

Presentation: Employment Trends in County Mayo

employment-by-sector-thumbPresentation on employment trends in Mayo and the Western Region given at the Education, Training and Jobseekers Expo, Kiltimagh, 4 September 2014.

Presentation outlines the current employment profile of Mayo and the Western Region as well as national trends in job vacancies and skill shortages.

Download presentation (PDF 0.9Mb)

WDC Insights: Business Demography

WDC-Insights-business-demographyThe WDC has published its analysis of the latest CSO Business Demography data for 2011.

The Western Region’s enterprise base is dominated by micro-enterprises with a lower level of entrepreneurial activity. During 2006-2011 the region experienced a greater decline in enterprise numbers than elsewhere but there was growth in some of the knowledge services. The region has a less diverse enterprise profile and relies more on traditional sectors and local services, especially its rural counties.

Download a two page WDC Insights summary or the full WDC report.

Download WDC Insights summary (PDF 1.5Mb)

Download the full report (PDF 1.5Mb)

WDC Insights: County Incomes and Regional GDP

WDC-Insights-County-IncomesThe WDC has published an analysis of the latest CSO County Incomes and Regional GDP data for 2011.

This shows that regional income disparities began to widen again in 2011 and that the West, Mid-West and Border had the greatest declines in disposable income per person in that year. National output is becoming more regionally concentrated in the stronger regions. The West has performed relatively well and is the third largest contributor to national output. The Border has lost ground however and is now the second smallest region in output terms.

A two page WDC Insights summary is available to download together with the full WDC report.

Download WDC Insights summary (PDF 1.5Mb)

Download the full report (PDF 1.1Mb)

Creative Edge Talent Voucher Scheme: Implementation and Lessons

MYCE-talent-voucher-reportThe Creative Edge Talent Voucher Scheme ran during 2013. Creative businesses could apply for a voucher of up to €2,000 to contract a creative talent to do a specific assignment for them. Eight assignments were completed in Ireland, Sweden and Finland. The WDC operated the Scheme in Ireland under the NPP Creative Edge project.

How the Scheme was designed and operated is given in this report and the outcome of each of the eight assignments. The overall performance of the Scheme and lessons which can be learned for any future such schemes are also examined.

Download the Executive Summary (PDF 1.0Mb)

Download the full report (PDF 7.7Mb)

Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas – CEDRA

The Minister for Environment, Communities and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD, launched the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas in October 2012. Much of the work was conducted in 2013 and the final reports were published in 2014.

  1. A list of the CEDRA Recommendations Cedra List_of_Recommendations
  2. The full CEDRA report CEDRA_Report
  3. The CEDRA Research Report providing evidence for the CEDRA report and the Recommendations CEDRA_Research_Report
  4. Rural Economic Development in Ireland (2014). This book reports the results of CEDRA’s research and public consultation exercise.The objective of the book is to explore the economic, social, policy and environmental context of rural areas highlighting the differential impact of the economic depression across the country. The file size is quite large (25MB) and is available on request.

WDC Policy Briefing no. 6: Commuting to Work: Rural Dwellers, Urban Jobs

Policy-Briefing-no-6-thumbCommuting is an important aspect of employment. This WDC Policy Briefing examines rural commuting to urban centres for work, by analysing national Census 2011 Place of Work data (POWSCAR). It shows that 43.5% of working rural dwellers commute to work in urban areas, greater than the share working in rural areas. These workers are profiled in the Briefing. The critical role of urban based employment in sustaining rural communities, and the policy implications for job creation strategies in towns and gateways, are highlighted.

Download Full Report (PDF 2.5Mb)

Download Supplementary Note to WDC Policy Briefing No.6, Commuting to Work: Rural Dwellers, Urban Jobs (PDF 80kb) The Creative Showcase for Europe’s Northern Edge – Developing an Online Export Platform for the Creative Industries

MyCreativeEdge-eu-Developing-an-Online-Export-Platform-Report-2014In order to be sustainable and grow, many creative businesses need access to international markets. Through the EU-funded Creative Edge project the WDC developed an online export platform called MyCreativeEdge to showcase the work of creative enterprises internationally. This report details the process of developing MyCreativeEdge from initial research through design, launch, promotion and evaluation of its performance. The report also sets out the key lessons learned from the process.

Download Executive Summary (PDF 2.4Mb)

Download Full Report (PDF 20Mb)

Report on Member Survey, Nov-Dec 2013

The WDC was a partner in an NPP Interreg funded project called Creative Edge. Under this project the WDC developed MyCreativeEdge: The Creative Showcase for Europe’s Northern Edge By the end of 2013, 326 creative enterprises had published their profiles on the site. This report analyses the results of a survey of members on their experience of being featured on MyCreativeEdge.

Download Report (PDF 1Mb)


Rural Commuting to Towns 

This report examines one of the more important rural-urban linkages, commuting from rural to urban and identifies the extent to which commuting is a factor in supporting the economy of rural areas through the employment of rural dwellers in towns. Based on data from the most recent Census (2011), the particular focus here is on commuting from rural areas to work in urban areas, highlighting the scale of activity and the policy implications which arise.

Download the report here (1MB)

 Rural Commuting to Gateways & FDI Employment

Research based on Census 2011 travel to work data examines the extent to which rural dwellers commute to and avail of employment in gateways. Their labour market characteristics are profiled. There is also an examination of commuting from rural areas to three gateways, Galway, Sligo and Waterford and in particular the labour supply commuting to IDA business parks within these gateways.

Download the Report here (2MB)

Consultation on An Integrated Irish Aviation Policy

To the Department of Transport, Sport and Tourism,
Submission from the Western Development Commission
July 2013

Download Report (PDF 0.5Mb)


Connecting the West: Next Generation Broadband in the Western Region

Connecting-the-West-report-cover-dec12In this report the WDC has examined the current provision of broadband across the Western Region highlighting the particular experience of six case study companies. The report also assesses the likely impact of the recently published National Broadband Plan on next generation provision in the Western Region.

The report contains 12 Recommendations which, if implemented, will help ensure more extensive future proofed next generation broadband throughout the country and especially to areas outside the largest urban centres. This will help facilitate regional and rural enterprise development and job growth and position the Western Region and rural areas for sustained long term economic growth.

Download PDF (Low-resolution 1.5Mb)

Download PDF (Hi-resolution 8Mb)

What Job Opportunities are there after Education & Training in Roscommon?

This presentation, given at the Roscommon Education and Training Fair on 24 October, explores current employment patterns and trends in county Roscommon.  It also gives the pattern of employment in 16 towns and villages in the county.  It goes on to consider current national skills shortages and sectors with employment growth potential in county Roscommon.   Short two-page socio-economic profiles for each of the 16 towns and villages are included in a separate report.

Download presentation (pdf 1 MB)

Download socio-economic profiles (pdf 1.2 MB)

Critical Issues for Rural Areas

This presentation, given to the Regional and Rural Affairs Sub-Committee of the Southern and Eastern Regional Assembly on 12 October, sets out some of the key issues facing rural areas nationally. Drawing on the latest Census data it examines the employment structure, unemployment rates, age profile, population change and higher education levels of rural areas.  It goes on to discuss how the challenges for rural areas could be addressed through infrastructure, innovation and the 3Es (education, enterprise and employment).

Download presentation (pdf 1.4MB)

Employment Trends and Growth Sectors in Co Mayo

This presentation, given at a social enterprise workshop organised by Mayo North East Leader on 20 September, provides an overview of employment trends and growth sectors in county Mayo.  Drawing on the latest Census data it examines Mayo’s labour force, employment and enterprise by sector in the county and also provides profiles of 13 towns and villages in the Mayo North East Leader area.  It then goes on to identify a number of growth sectors for the county, focusing on those with the greatest potential for social enterprise. Short two-page socio-economic profiles for each of the 13 towns and villages are included in a separate report.

Download presentation (pdf 2.4MB)

Download socio-economic profiles (pdf 1MB)

Consultation on the Report of the next Generation Broadband Taskforce – Enabling a connected society

This submission to the Department of Communications sets out the views of the WDC in relation to the Report of the Next Generation Broadband Taskforce Enabling a Connected Society May 2012.

The submission provides some context to the provision of high speed broadband in the Western Region and sets out observations on the 51 recommendations contained within the Report of the Next Generation Broadband Taskforce.

Download pdf (300Kb)

Census 2011 – Principal Demographic Results and Population in the Western Region

In this report the WDC has analysed a selection of indicators from the first results of the Census of Population 2011, focusing on those of most relevance to the Western Region and the WDC’s work areas.The indicators include population, components of population change, gender, age, dependency ratios, rural and town populations, household size, elderly persons living alone, Irish language ability and frequency of use, housing occupancy, housing stock and vacancy rates and a new indicator on the fuel used in central heating.  It is hoped that this analysis will of interest to local, regional and national policymakers, public representatives and other national and regional stakeholders.

Download pdf (2MB)

Presentation on Employment Trends in the Western Region

This presentation was given at the Roscommon Education and Training Fair 2012. It outlines recent employment trends nationally and in the Western Region.

Download pdf (1 Mb)

WDC Submission on the Reform of the Water Sector

Download pdf (209Kb)

WDC Submission to Framework for Sustainable Development for Ireland

Download pdf (716Kb)


Profile of Education, Enterprise and Employment (3Es) in the Western Region 2011

Image of 3Es Profile front pageThis Profile of Education, Enterprise and Employment (3Es) in the Western Region 2011 provides an updated statistical profile of the 3Es situation in the Western Region based on new 2011 data.  It is an information resource for public representatives, policymakers and anyone with an interest in the Western Region’s development.  It also provides additional background and context for the WDC Policy Briefing Education, Enterprise & Employment: How can better integration of the 3Es drive growth in the Western Region? published in July 2011.

Download pdf (4Mb)

WDC Policy Briefing no. 5:  Why invest in gas?  Benefits of natural gas infrastructure for the North West

Policy Brief 5 Nat Gas jpegSignificant parts of the North West have no natural gas infrastructure.  Industries and businesses in areas without natural gas face higher energy costs, have fewer choices of fuel and higher carbon emissions.  They also pay more in carbon charges.  This WDC Policy Briefing focuses on the North West and in particular the need for natural gas infrastructure in eleven towns in counties Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon.  The economic and other benefits of investing in natural gas infrastructure are estimated in the Briefing and the case is made for public investment in such infrastructure.

Download Estimates and Calculations PDF
Download Report PDF (1.31MB)

Overview of Census 2011 Preliminary Results for the Western Region

The Census 2011 Preliminary Results contain data on population, population change, migration and the housing stock.  This report provides an overview of the results for the counties of the Western Region.  The region’s population grew by 7.5% between 2006 and 2011 to reach 819,851 persons.

Download Report PDF (0.5MB)
Download Appendix PDF (0.1MB)

Education, Enterprise & Employment – How Can Better Integration Of The 3Es Drive Growth In The Western Region?

3Es Policy Briefing cover imageEducation, enterprise and employment (3Es) are each fundamental to regional and national economic growth.  They also rely on each other. In order to raise education levels, strengthen the enterprise base and grow employment opportunities in the Western Region we need to think about and deal with the 3Es in a more integrated way.  This WDC Policy Briefing examines the 3Es, and more specifically their interactions within the Western Region.  It makes a number of proposals for greater 3Es integration aimed at creating jobs and growth in the Western Region.

Download PDF (1MB)

Future Growth Trajectories Creative West

Growth trajectories Creative westCompiled by the Centre for Innovation & Structural Change (CISC) at NUI Galway on behalf of the Western Development Commission, the assessment quantifies the potential effects of implementing growth programmes to enable existing creative goods and services through access to global markets. The assessment highlights that real and lasting growth is possible and potentially significant in growing both the region’s creative and mainstream economy.

Download PDF (1.18Mb)

Energy Crop Opportunities in the Western Region

The report Energy Crop Opportunities in the Western Region presents an analysis of the potential of energy crops in the Western Region of Ireland based on the application of the national bioenergy Geographical Information System (BGIS), and discusses key factors impacting on the future development of the energy crop sector.  The market analysis is of interest to existing and potential fuel producers and processors, private developers of bioenergy projects, local development companies and activists, and public sector players at a policy level and also public procurement of energy. The WDC delivered the report under RASLRES in partnership with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and Teagasc.

Download pdf (8.31Mb)

Air Access and Western Region – A Regional Perspective

reports-policy-briefing-feb2011-imgThis WDC Policy Briefing examines the importance of air access to the Western Region and the role of regional airports. It will show that these airports are important to the region’s economy, improving accessibility for enterprises and tourists. Airports in the Western Region will need continued support if they are to effectively help drive regional economic growth.

Download PDF (3.3Mb)


How is the Western Region doing? Measuring regional development


The Western Development Commission’s second WDC Policy Briefing How is the Western Region doing? Measuring regional development provides a statistical snapshot of the Western Region of Ireland.  The Briefing illustrates how the region is developing over time and how it compares with other parts of the country.

A range of indicators of the region’s current level of development and its future growth potential are examined.  The indicators compare the situation in 2007, the peak of the boom, with the most recent available figures and also compare the region with the rest of the state.

Download (PDF 1.3Mb)

Why care about regions? A new approach to regional policy

The Western Development Commission has just published a short Policy Briefing Why care about regions? A new approach to regional policy.  It is based on analysis conducted by the WDC and draws on findings from recent work by the OECD on the role of regions and their contribution to national growth.  It highlights the importance of investing in all regions and emphasises that rural areas can and should contribute to the national economy.

This is the first in a series of Policy Briefings which will highlight and provide discussion and analysis of key regional policy issues.

Download (PDF 0.8Mb)

Employment & Unemployment in the Western Region Update 2010

This Briefing Note provides an updated picture of the labour market situation in the Western Region based on 2010 data.

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Presentation – Work in the West – Oireachtas Members

Based on the WDC’s 2009 report Work in the West: The Western Region’s Employment & Unemployment Challenge, the WDC made a presentation in early 2010 to members of the Oireachtas based in the Western Region to highlight the key employment and unemployment issues affecting the Western Region.

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Work in the West: The Western Region’s Employment & Unemployment Challenge


Work in the West: The Western Region’s Employment & Unemployment Challenge examines the current employment and unemployment situation in the Western Region and analyses the key challenges which arise from this (adjusting to the decline in construction employment, the possible return of the brain drain and the delivery of education and training in the region). The WDC also makes recommendations on what is needed to position the region for future growth.

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Travel to Work and Labour Catchments in the Western Region: A Profile of Seven Town Labour Catchments


In this publication, the WDC draws on previously un-released Census data to examine the travel to work patterns to each of the principal towns in the seven counties of the Western Region. This report identifies 45 labour catchments in the Western Region and  provides a detailed labour market profile for seven towns; Galway, Ennis, Sligo, Letterkenny, Castlebar, Roscommon and Carrick-on-Shannon.

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Creative Industries, Innovation & the Smart Economy: Seminar Proceedings

The current economic downturn provides practitioners, policymakers and industry analysts with a unique opportunity to reflect on the importance of creativity in innovative pursuits. Building on our Creative West: The creative sector in the Western Region report, the WDC, in conjunction with the Centre for Innovation & Structural Change at NUI Galway, organised a seminar to bring together different sub-groups within the creative sector to discuss the sector’s role in Ireland, and the West’s future economy. The presentations from the seminar, held on 25 November are given below:

Session 1: Competitiveness and Creativity: Evidence from the UK’s Regions

Professor Robert Huggins, Cardiff School of Management, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff and Director of Centre for International Competitiveness – Download pdf (1.2 Mb)
Dr Patrick Collins, Centre for Innovation & Structural Change at NUI, Galway – Download pdf (1.2Mb)

Session 2: Addressing the Role of Creativity in the Smart Economy: A Policy Perspective

Ms Vera Kelly, Principal Officer, Department of Arts, Sport & Tourism
Ms Pauline White, Policy Analyst, Western Development Commission – Download pdf (0.3Mb)

Session 3: Creative Production in Practice

Mr. Paul Cummins, CEO, Telegael
Ms. Helen Murphy, Head of Education, Training and Development, Crafts Council of Ireland – Download pdf (5Mb)

Moving West: An Exploratory Study of the Social and Economic Effects of the Relocation of Public Sector Offices to Towns in the Western Region


Relatively little data exists on the impact of the relocation of public sector offices in Ireland, either on the people who relocate or the towns involved. Moving West is an exploratory study that examines the effects of recent relocations to two towns in the Western Region. It investigates the reasons why employees chose to relocate and the impact it has had on their quality of life; as well as the social and economic impact of the relocations on the two towns.

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Creative West: The Creative Sector in the Western Region


The creative sector refers to businesses such as arts, crafts, design, software development, architecture and film making, which are centred on human creativity to generate original goods and services.  The Western Region has a strong creative legacy and Creative West examines the size and importance of the creative sector in the Western Region, the main issues for enterprises in the sector and makes recommendations on how the sector can grow in the future.

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Baseline Research on the Creative Industries Sector in the Western Region of Ireland


The creative sector refers to businesses such as arts, crafts, design, software development, architecture and film making, which are centred on human creativity to generate original goods and services.  This report by contains comprehensive baseline research on the creative sector in the Western Region and provides the background data for the WDC report Creative West: The Creative Sector in the Western Region.

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Wood Energy Strategy Summary

reports_WoodEnergyStrategySummary-imgThis report presents a Wood Energy Strategy and Action Plan for the Western Region. The WDC supported by the Regional Wood Energy Advisory Group commissioned this market research and lead on the development of the strategy and action plan based on a process of industry consultation.  The report assesses the potential wood fuel resource, analyses the market opportunities in the region, estimates regional targets and presents the actions required to achieve the potential growth rate. It also examines the economic impact of the growth of the wood energy market.

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Wood Energy Summary Appendix

reports_WoodEnergySummary-appendix-imgThe appendix to the Wood Energy Strategy includes a map of the private forestry resource of the Western Region and individual county maps of the private forestry resource for counties Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Leitrim, Galway and Clare.  The maps were compiled by the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

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Wood Energy and Community Enterprise A Guide

reports_WoodEnergyCommunityEnterprise_Guide-img-This guide reviews the opportunities for community-based enterprise in the wood energy sector.  The guide is based on the information gathered during a joint project of the WDC and Údarás na Gaeltachta.  This project report offers practical information on the wood fuel supply chain and includes three project examples.  The following issues are looked at: potential markets; technology involved; cost structure of the wood fuel supply chain; and key questions to ask if your community what to get involved in the sector.  This project was recommended under the Wood Energy Strategy.

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Wood Energy and Local Authorities Donegal Case Study

reports_WoodEnergyLocalAuthoritiesDonegal-imgThis project report documents the experience of the Community & Enterprise Division of Donegal County Council, working in the context of the County Development Board, to support the growth of the local wood energy sector.  The project assessed the potential benefits and outcomes from local authority involvement in the wood energy sector, and informs on the role of local authorities in supporting growth of this market.  This project was recommended under the Wood Energy Strategy.

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Biomass CHP Market Potential in the Western Region an Assessment

reports_BiomassCHPMarketPotential_Assessment-imgThis report presents an analysis of the market potential for biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP) in the Western Region, and outlines the potential economic and social benefits that could be derived from development of the sector.  This research provides the public and private sectors with practical CHP market information, and the following issues are reviewed: technology assessment; market profile; factors impacting development; and potential benefits of market growth.  This research was recommended under the Wood Energy Strategy.

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Wood Energy Strategy Full Version

reports_WoodEnergyStrategy_Full-imgThis report presents the background information and detailed analysis on which the Wood Energy Strategy Summary was based.  The report presents additional information on the various sections of the Summary including market prospects, resource assessment, scenarios and targets, barriers to development, and recommended actions under the strategy.

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Economic Impact of Regional Wood Energy Strategy

reports_WoodEnergyStratEconomic-Impact-imgThis report sets out the economic impact of the growth of the wood energy sector as presented in the Wood Energy Strategy Summary.  The reports includes the background analysis for the economic factors assessed including: gross value added per annum; employment effects (both construction and wood fuel effects); value of carbon offset and its contribution to national climate change targets; other economic effects deemed significant.

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Wood Energy Community Enterprise Models Full Version

reports_WoodEnergyCommunityEnterprise_Full-imgThis report is the detailed project report on which Wood Energy and Community Enterprise A Guide was based.  The full project report outlines background analysis e.g. results of surveys, together with additional information on wood energy supply chains and project examples.

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Delivering Balanced Regional Development: Conference Proceedings

reports_BRD-Proceedings_imgBalanced regional development is a key objective in the NDP 2007-2013. A critical issue is the role of public investment in facilitating regions to achieve their full potential. The WDC therefore felt it was opportune to provide a forum in which the policy issues involved in balanced regional development could be discussed and debated.  The proceedings of the WDC conference, held on 23 May 2008, are given below.

Session 1:  The Challenge of Achieving Balanced Regional Development

Key Note Speakers:
Prof. Neil Ward
– Balanced  Regional Development – Issues and Insights Download PDF (0.8Mb)
Ms. Julie O’Neill – BRD and Investment in Transport Infrastructure Download PDF (0.1Mb)
Dr. Patricia O’Hara (WDC) The Regional Development Challenge Download PDF (0.2Mb)

Dr. Edgar Morgenroth
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Session 2  How can Public Policy deliver for Rural Regions?

Key Note Speakers:
Prof. Gerry Boyle – Public Investment in Regions and BRD Download PDF (0.7Mb)
Prof. Michael Keane – Beyond Gateways: Towns and Regional Development Download PDF (0.2Mb)

Spatial Perspectives:
Mr. Mark Griffin – Delivering Spatial Development Download PDF (0.5Mb)
Mr. Dermot O’Doherty – Cross Border Development in an All Island Context Download PDF (0.7Mb)

The Western Region: Key Statistics

reports_WR-KeyStatistics-Full-imgThe Western Region: Key Statistics provides a brief social and economic profile of the Western Region including data on population, employment, education, income, enterprise, economic sectors and infrastructure.  These data illustrate the current situation in the region, relative to the national experience, as well as the changing trends in the areas covered.

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People and Places: Download Section 1 (1.1Mb)
People and Work: Download Section 2 (1.4Mb)
Education: Download Section 3 (0.8Mb)
Output and Income: Download Section 4 (0.5Mb)
Enterprise and Employment: Download Section 5 (1.1Mb)
Tourism and Natural Resources: Download Section 6 (0.6Mb)
Infrastructure: Download Section 7 (2.2Mb)

WDC Briefing Note: Employment and Unemployment in the Western Region 2000-2008

This briefing note examines the main trends in employment in the Western Region over the 2000-2008 period, including trends by sector and their gender implications. There is a particular focus on the most recent period in order to examine the impact of the current economic downturn on unemployment in the region.

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Communities and Renewable Energy – A Guide

reports_Communities-and-Renewable-Energy_Guide-imgThis guide is for communities considering participating in a renewable energy project.  It offers direction to communities looking at investing in or setting up a renewable energy project. The guide also offers private developers an insight into obtaining local community support for establishing a project, and policy makers will find this guide useful for identifying what is needed to encourage community involvement in the sector.  The guide is based on a case study of a wind energy project in Co. Mayo. This project was a follow-on action from the publication of To Catch the Wind (2004).

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WDC Briefing Note: Demographic and Socio-economic Trends in the Western Region: WDC Analysis of Census 2006

In this paper the WDC analyses data from the Census of Population 2006 to compile a profile of the Western Region focusing on: demography (population numbers and distribution, gender, age, household characteristics and migration); labour force and employment (industrial and occupational profile); educational attainment; and travel to work patterns.

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Gas for ‘Ineligible’ Towns: A review of the options

Gas Connections Policy changed in 2006 to revise the conditions under which towns could be considered eligible to connect to the natural gas grid.  Towns seeking connection to the gas grid were reviewed and assessed as ‘economic’ (where connections would be allowed as they show positive returns either individually or as part of a group) or ‘uneconomic’ or ‘ineligible’ to be connected. The focus of this study is on the options for ‘ineligible’ towns to obtain a gas connection.

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Report on Fuel Cost Analysis

As part of its work in highlighting the importance for towns in the Western Region of accessing natural gas, the WDC commissioned Enercomm International to undertake this analysis.  The report examines the relative fuel costs for space heating, hot water and cooking as they apply to domestic households and commercial enterprises. In addition, the study examines relative fuel costs for process heating, space heating, hot water and cooking for an industrial enterprise.

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Indicators, Balanced Regional Development and the National Development Plan 2007-2013

Regionally balanced development is a key national policy objective and the WDC believes there is a need to measure performance in this regard. This paper sets out that case and proposes a set of indicators which aim to measure progress towards achieving balanced regional development.  The selected indicators fall under six domains: demographic; labour market; economic structure and performance; education; income and poverty; and innovation and technology.

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Rural Businesses at Work: Case Studies of Rural Enterprises in the Western Region

Rural Businesses at Work-Cover page

The Western Region is a predominantly rural region, yet relatively little is known about the dynamics of the non-farm rural economy or the rural enterprises contributing to it. Rural Businesses at Work contains an overview of the context for rural enterprises and presents case studies of ten enterprises operating in rural areas of the Western Region. The case studies explore why the business is in a rural location, the effect of its location on operations and the business’ impact on its locality. Key issues and themes from the ten case studies are then drawn out.

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Download PDF Map (4.0Mb)

Western Development Commission official Languages Scheme Final English 2007 – 2010

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Scéim Choimisiún Forbartha an Iarthair 2007 – 2010

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Wood Energy Development in Western Regionreports_WoodEnergyDevWesternRegion-img

This research report is a baseline study on the potential of wood energy in the Western Region.  It reviews issues associated with wood energy deployment and its potential in the region including fuel resource, market opportunities and barriers to development. This report marked the completion of a phase of research and consultation by the WDC. This research was used as part of the knowledge base for the design of the Wood Energy Strategy.

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Models of Rural Development

reports_Models-of-rural-development-imgThis report outlines in a step-by-step format the innovative approach to Rural Development which has been implemented successfully by the WDC across a number of sectors in the Western Region.  The Model is outlined through two case studies, one from the organic agrifood sector and the other from the rural tourism sector.  This report is intended as a practical reference guide for development practitioners, community groups and/or implementing agencies, who respect the principles of partnership, consultation and sustainable development and who wish to implement an innovative participatory and proactive Model of Rural Development.

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Walking in the West – A Step-by-Step Guide

reports_WalkingintheWest_imgWalking in the West proposes a new intregated development process, that when implemented will deliver a world class walking product in the Western Region and increase visitor numbers.

Extensive research into 20 international walking trails, and an indepth analysis of six of these in a case study format, led to the development of a ‘best practice’ model for this important sector to develop. The model, in the form of a Step-by-Step Guide, and a regional framework, will implement the walking initiative.

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To Catch the Wind -The Potential for Community Ownership of Wind Farms in Ireland

reports_To-Catch-the-Wind_imgIreland has one of the most promising, untapped energy resources to be found anywhere in Europe – wind energy. It is one of the few sectors in which the West of Ireland in particular has a major competitive advantage over almost every other region in Europe. This study set out to explore the potential for community ownership of wind farm in Ireland.

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Enterprise and Employment in the Western Region – Issues, Challenges and Recommendations

reports_Enterprise_and_EmploymentIn this statement the WDC sets out a number of recommendations which were submitted to the Enterprise Strategy Group. The twenty-three recommendations to the ESG are based on our analysis of international trends and regional data, on case studies of various sectors in the Western Region, and on the WDC’s experience of operating the Western Investment Fund and promoting the Western Region.

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Jobs for Towns

reports_Jobs_for_TownsThe Western Development Commission believes that developing strategies for the growth of small and medium-sized towns is crucial to the economic and social development of the predominantly rural, seven county, Western Region.

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Report on WDC Rail Seminar

This report is based on a seminar hosted in Claremorris on the 22nd April 2003. The purpose of the seminar was to inform participants of the contents of the SSR, stimulate debate and facilitate the formation of a regional response.

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Summary of Update on Telecommunications in the Western Region

reports_telecomms_summaryThe Western Development Commission have complied a bulletin on telecommunications in the Western Region to provide an update on the current situation there, identify the key issues and propose solutions.

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Update on Telecommunications in the Western Region

reports_telecomms_update_imgIn this report, the WDC provides an update on the current status of telecommunications infrastructure and services in the Western Region, including a review of government policy and its implementation.

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State of the West

reports_State-of-the-WestThis State of the West report provides an update of socio-economic conditions in the Western Region, which comprises of 37 per cent of the landmass of the state.

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Blueprint for Organic Agri-Food Production in the West

reports_blueprint_orgfood_imgThis report contains an overview of the European and Irish organic sector together with a detailed analysis of organic production in the Western Region.

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Blueprint for Tourism Development in the West
An Action Plan for Rural Areas

reports_blueprint_tourism_development_imgWhat emerges clearly from the analysis in this report is that there is an urgent need for a framework that enables all of the representative bodies to work with one vision and one strategy for tourism development in the rural region. In this report, the WDC not only outlines that vision, but also specifies how it can be implemented and the specific actions which should be taken if it is to be realised.

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Blueprint for Investing in the West : Promoting Foreign Direct Investment in the West

In this report Promoting Foreign Direct Investment in the West, the WDC recommends a range of policy initiatives which would accelerate the level and spread of foreign direct investment.

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