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The Mid-East Region of Ireland with each constituent county highlighted.

The Mid-East Region (coded IE062)[1] is a NUTS Level III statistical region of Ireland. It consists of the territory of the counties of Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow. The Mid-East Region spans 6,891 km2, 9.8% of the total area of the state (roughly 7% of the Island) and according to the 2016 census had a population of 688,857, roughly 14.5% of the national population[2]

Prior to 2014, the region was governed by the Mid-East Regional Assembly. Statutory instrument No. 573/2014 abolished that assembly.[3][4] Since that date, the association between Regional Assemblies and NUTS regions has ceased. The NUTS regions are used for statistical reporting to Eurostat, while the Regional Assemblies are responsible for planning at a local government level.

The Mid-East has experienced continuous population growth since 1961. This growth is primarily influenced by the regions close proximity to the Dublin Region. The region has large urban areas and contains almost 20 towns with a population of over 5,000. But the region mostly has a rural landscape and the total area of viable agricultural land in the Mid-East is 69%. The manufacturing industry employs a significant number of people in the region and it is the location of high tech industries in areas such as Leixlip and Bray.

The region contains notable tourist attractions such as Trim Castle, Kildare Cathedral, Brú na Bóinne and Glendalough. Prominent geographical features include the River Liffey, the Wicklow Mountains and the Curragh of Kildare which is a major centre of stud farming.

Regional AuthorityEdit

Former Regional AuthorityEdit

 
The Mid-East Region, 2003-2018

The Mid-East Region was administered by the Mid-East Regional Authority, which consisted of 21 elected representatives including the region's representative on the EU Committee of the Regions. These representatives met once a month and were nominated from the regions three administrative councils:[2]

  • Kildare County Council
  • Meath County Council
  • Wicklow County Council

The Regional Authorities were dissolved in 2014 and were replaced by Regional Assemblies.[5]

Current Regional AuthorityEdit

Under Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/2066, which took effect in 2018, County Louth was transferred from the Border Region to the Mid-East Region, increasing the number of Mid-East counties from 3 to 4. Due to its position along the Dublin–Belfast corridor and strong economic ties with the Greater Dublin Area, Louth was removed from the Border Region despite sharing a border with Northern Ireland. These changes had a number of implications. Although the least populous county in the Mid-East, the region's two largest towns are now Dundalk and Drogheda, which are both in County Louth, and are Ireland's 6th and 8th largest towns respectively. With the addition of Louth, the Mid-East Region now also shares a border with Northern Ireland.[6][7]

The local authorities in the border region are as follows:

Since the 2014 reforms, NUTS Level III regions have had no administrative role. The elected representatives of these councils instead convene at the Northern and Western Regional Assembly for planning and local government purposes.

DemographicsEdit

 
Irish language roadsign in Baile Ghib, County Meath

The Mid-East is the second fastest growing region in Ireland after Dublin.[2] All four counties in the Mid-East have population growth rates well above the national average of 3.7%. The Greater Dublin Area refers to Dublin and its three surrounding counties, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow, and contains 40% of the population of the state. Since the 2018 boundary changes, the population of Dublin and the Mid-East combined now stands at over 2 million.

County Area (km2) Population % of region pop. Change 2011-2016
Kildare 1,695 222,130 32.2%   5.6%
Louth 826 128,884 18.7%   4.5%
Meath 2,342 194,942 28.3%   5.9%
Wicklow 2,027 142,332 20.7%   4.2%

According to the 2016 census, the Mid-East region had a population of 688,857, which constitutes 14.5% of the national population. Its population density was 100 persons per km, the second highest in the country.[2] Kildare is the largest county in the Mid-East by population, and Meath is the largest by land area. Louth is the region's smallest county by both population and area.

The Mid-East contains Leinster's only Gaeltacht areas, both located in County Meath, at Ráth Chairn and Baile Ghib. They were founded by emigrants from Galway in 1935 and 1937 respectively. With just 1,771 native Irish speakers between them, spread over a total area of 44km2, they are the two smallest Gaeltachts in Ireland. According to the 2016 Census, the percentage of Irish speakers by county in the Mid-East is: Kildare (40.2%), Meath (38.6%), Wicklow (36.6%) and Louth (34.1%).[8] Louth has the lowest percentage of Irish speakers of any county in Ireland.

The region has many large urban areas and contains 24 towns with a population of over 5,000; 14 of which have a population of over 10,000. 10 of these are located in Kildare, 7 in Meath, 5 in Wicklow and 2 in Louth.[2]

Major settlementsEdit

A list of the ten largest settlements in the mid-east.

County capitals are included and are shown in bold.

Towns
Rank Town County Population
(2016 census)
1 Drogheda Louth 40,956
2 Dundalk Louth 39,248
3 Bray Wicklow 32,600
4 Navan Meath 30,173
5 Newbridge Kildare 22,742
6 Naas Kildare 21,393
7 Celbridge Kildare 20,288
8 Greystones Wicklow 18,140
9 Leixlip Kildare 15,504
10 Maynooth Kildare 14,585

EconomyEdit

According to Eurostat figures for 2012, the region has GDP of €13,316 bn and a GDP per capita of €24,700.[9] Figures released in February 2017, suggest that the unemployment rate in the region was 5.3% during 2016 - the lowest among other regions of the country.[10]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Revision to the Irish NUTS2 and NUTS3 regions". cso.ie.
  2. ^ a b c d e Irish Region Office - Regions of Ireland: Mid-East Region Archived 2010-02-26 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/2014/en/si/0228.html
  4. ^ Statutory Instrument 573/2014]
  5. ^ http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/2014/en/si/0228.html
  6. ^ "WDC, Revisions to NUTS Level II". Western Development Commission.
  7. ^ "CSO, notes on revisions to NUTS". CSO.
  8. ^ "Irish language and the Gaeltacht". CSO.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2014-10-06. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Table 9 Persons aged 15 years and over classified by NUTS2 and NUTS3 regions and ILO Economic Status". Quarterly National Household Survey. Central Statistics Office. 21 February 2017.