We hope you have been following and reading the WDC Insights blog in the last year. Take our Christmas Quiz (9 questions) and see how well you score on regional development and Western Region issues. The answers are below with links to more information and the relevant posts.
1 The WDC published its report on ‘Trends in Agency Assisted Employment in the Western Region’ in January. This included an analysis of data for each of the seven western counties. In 2013 what proportion of the total jobs in Sligo were agency assisted?
2 Agriculture in the Western Region of Ireland is characterised by smaller farm size, poorer land quality and a higher dependence on off farm income than in many other parts of Ireland. Nonetheless agriculture remains a significant employer and makes an important contribution to the regional economy.
What is the average farm size in the Western Region?
- 43.7 ha
- 15.2 ha
- 26.3 ha
3 In the latest CSO data on Income and Living Conditions (released 26th November) poverty and at risk of poverty rates are given. What is the difference between the at risk of poverty rates between the BMW and S&E regions?
4 In a recent a creative momentum project survey what proportion of creative entrepreneurs were exporting?
5 Examining regional indicators can help us to understand the growth and development taking place in our regions, to highlight changes and assess issues of efficiency and equity among regions.
Looking at the data since 2003 are regional disparities
- Staying the same?
6 Understanding the sectoral pattern of jobs in the region and patterns of sectoral growth and decline is particularly important to the development of job creation, skills and enterprise policy for the region.
What is the largest employment sector in the Western region?
- Wholesale and Retail
- Public Administration and Defence
What is the minimum download speed set down under the National Broadband Plan (in Mega bits per second (Mbps))?
- 30 Mbps
- 100 Mbps
- 12 Mbps
8 In February 2015 the IDA published a new 5-year strategy which put considerable focus on the regional balance of future FDI investments. The strategy includes a target to increase the number of investments in every region, outside of Dublin. By how much are the investments in the regions targeted to increase?
- By 10-20% over the 5 years of the strategy?
- By 30-40% over the 5 years of the strategy?
- By 80-90% over the 5 years of the strategy?.
9 With The Paris Agreement at COP21 marking a turning point in the response to climate change, it is time to consider how we will meet those targets in Ireland so we examine some of the issues for climate change mitigation in the Western Region in this post.
What percentage of households in the Western Region use oil to heat their homes?
The WDC published a report on ‘Trends in Agency Assisted Employment in the Western Region’ in January 2015.week. This included an analysis of data for each of the seven western counties. Taking Sligo as an example in 2013, there were 3,880 people working in agency assisted jobs there. 15.3% of total jobs in the county were agency assisted, which is below the state average (19.3%). Some 55.6% of assisted jobs in Sligo are in foreign owned companies; lower than a decade earlier. Irish owned assisted employment has grown steadily since 2011 and was up 4.8% in 2013. Sligo’s second largest assisted sector – Traditional Manufacturing – has had the strongest recent growth, up a fifth (21.5%) between 2010 and 2013.
For more about agency assisted jobs in the other Western Region counties see this post
Answer: 3) 26.3 ha
Agriculture in the Western Region of Ireland is characterised by smaller farm size, poorer land quality and a higher dependence on off farm income than in many other parts of Ireland. Nonetheless agriculture remains a significant employer and makes an important contribution to the regional economy.
The average farm size in the Western Region (counties Clare, Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo) was 26.3 ha in 2010. Farm sizes are significantly smaller than in the rest of Ireland where the average farm in 2010 was 36.9 ha. Nonetheless farm size in the Western region has grown by a third since 1991 when the Western Region average was 19.8 ha with most of the growth occurring in the 1990s (almost 27% of the growth occurred between 1991 and 2000). For more information, read this post.
Answer: 1) 5.7%
The CSO released the latest data on Income and Living Conditions on 26th November 2015. The headline figures indicate a rise in incomes – increasing by 3.5% between 2013 and 2014, which in turn was higher than the figure in 2012. The release also provided data on poverty rates at a regional level. Analysis of consistent poverty rates by region, which will be influenced by rural-urban patterns, shows that the rate for the Border, Midlands and Western region was 10.8% compared with 7.0% for the Southern and Eastern region in 2014. The at-risk of poverty-rate was also higher in the Border, Midlands and Western region compared to the Southern and Eastern region, 20.5% and 14.8% respectively. The difference was 5.7%.
For more on poverty and at-risk of poverty rates see this post.
a creative momentum project survey
Answer: 3) 68%.
In order to inform the development a creative momentum project activities, an online survey was circulated to creative entrepreneurs based in the participating regions. The survey ran from 28 September to 18 October and there were a total of 170 responses.
68% reported that they made some sales outside of their own country, which was higher than indicated in previous surveys. Cross-border business between Ireland and Northern Ireland seemed to be a strong element in these export sales. Of those businesses who did not export currently (44), 70% indicated a desire to export.
For more on the survey see this post
Answer: 1) Widening
There has been a significant widening of the gap between the BMW and the S&E regions since 2008, the difference in 2012 was 48.3 points and in 2008 was 40.6 points (in 2003 it was 42.6).
Disparities in regional GVA have been increasing in recent years and have been particularly significant since 2008 while, in contrast, disparities in disposable income reduced between 2003 and 2010, but have increased since then. For more see this post
Answer: 2) Wholesale and Retail.
The largest employment sector is Wholesale and Retail and the two largest employment sectors in the Western Region are Wholesale and Retail, and Industry which together account for about 30% of jobs. Of the region’s top seven sectors, all (except Health) account for a greater share of jobs in the region than the rest of the state. Agriculture and Industry (manufacturing) are considerably more important in the region. Among the region’s smaller sectors the share working in them in the region is considerably below that in the rest of the state.
In general the Western Region’s jobs profile relies more heavily than the rest of the state on the traditional sectors (Industry, Agriculture and Construction) and local services (Wholesale and Retail, and Accommodation and Food Service) which depend on domestic spending and tourism. The region’s sectoral jobs pattern is influenced by its largely rural nature. For more information see this post
Answer: 1) 30Mbps
The WDC in its submission to the consultation on the rollout of the National Broadband Plan suggests that one option would be to review the basic minimum standard, for both up and download speeds, every 5 years (or more frequently depending on technological change and demand requirements) and raise the minimum standard accordingly. For more from the WDC on broadband see here and here
Answer: 2) 30-40% over the 5 years of the strategy
The strategy includes a target to increase the number of investments in every region, outside of Dublin, by 30-40% over the lifetime years of the strategy. With Dublin maintaining a similar level to currently. For example for the West, which received 71 investments over the 2010-2014 period, the target is to achieve 92-99 investments over 2015-2019. For the Border region the target is 61-66 investments (it received 47 in the past five years). These targets do not just refer to new name investments, but include expansions by existing FDI companies and R&D investments.
Answer: 1) 63.1% of homes use oil as their main heating fuel
The pattern of fuel usage in central heating is very different in the Western Region and the rest of the state. This is primarily due to the lack of access to natural gas across most of the region. Less than 5% of households in the Western Region use natural gas to heat their home compared with 40% in the rest of the state. Lack of access to natural gas makes the Western Region far more reliant on other fuels, many which have higher carbon emissions. Oil is used by 63.1% of households in the region compared to 38.8% in the rest of the state. Wood fuels and other biomass are slightly more important in the Western Region 1.4% compared to 1.3% in the rest of the state but there needs to be a significant policy focus using renewable energies for domestic heating. These include solid biomass (wood chips, pellets and logs). In many rural situations users have more space and fuel can be sourced locally with less transport required, so these options may be more suitable than for urban dwellers. Uptake could be improved with appropriate, targeted incentives.
For more on rural urban differences, western region statistics and the need for climate change mitigation to focus on rural areas see this post.
How well did you do?
You got 8 or 9 answers correct–
CONGRATULATIONS! You really know a lot about regional development, the Western Region and the Western Development Commission’s work.
You got between 4 and 7 answers correct –
WELL DONE, a good score but some deficiencies in your knowledge. Perhaps you should read the WDC Insights posts more carefully in 2016!
You got between 0 and 3 answers correct
OH DEAR! Time to pay more attention to regional development and Western Region Issues. You’ll have to do some extra study over the holiday! Reread the WDC Insights blog and check out the WDC publications page and re-take the quiz in the New Year!