Regions of Ireland: the Mid-East

                          Mid-East Regional Authority

Contact:      Mr. John Byrne (Director)

Email:         mera@eircom.net

Web:             www.mera.ie

Address:     County Buildings, Station Road, Wicklow

Tel:               +353 404 66058

Fax:              + 353 404 61670

 

Profile of the Region

The Mid-East Region is a functional part of the Greater Dublin Region and would be generally considered to be the hinterland or surrounding Region of Dublin City. The Mid-East Regional Authority area is constituted by the following three units of primary local government: Meath County Council, Kildare County Council and Wicklow County Council and represents approximately 8.7% of the area of the State. The Region has experienced a continuous population increase since 1961. It is comparatively well urbanised and has some of the country’s fastest growing settlement centers.  The pattern of settlement is not uniform and is principally influenced by the functional links between the Dublin and the Mid-East Region, which together form the Eastern Region where over 40% of the State’s total population reside. There are eleven towns in the Region with populations over 5,000. The Mid-East Region has a relatively strong agricultural base due to soil quality, favourable climatic conditions, proximity to markets and a long tradition of agricultural education which have all combined to produce a high level of farming expertise.  The total area of viable agricultural land in the Region is 69%, which is higher than the corresponding average (64%) for the eight Regional Authority areas. The location of the Mid-East Region in close proximity to Dublin has also led to the concentration of high-tech knowledge based industries in locations such as Bray and Leixlip, which are situated within the Dublin fringe.  Other significant manufacturing employment sectors in the region include: food processing, traditional craft manufacturing and the chemical industry.

The Mid-East Region Authority map

  Socio-economic Data

 

NUTS level

III

Area (sq. kms)

6063sq.km

% of area of State

8.7%

Population

412,650

% of national population

10.5%

Population density (persons/sq km)

68.07

Regional capital (town/city)

Naas

Population

18,312

Regional GDP (2002)

9,742m

GDP (% of State, 2002)

80.4%

GDP (% of EU25, 2002)

106.9% (2002)

Workforce

205,200

Employment rate (2002)

97.0%

Employment in key industries:

1. Agriculture

5.5%   (10,950)

2. Industry

31.8%  (63,314)

3. Services

62.6%  (124,634)

 

  Regional Structures:

The Mid-East Regional Authority is one of eight Authorities established by the Government under the Local Government Act 1991 (Regional Authority Establishment Orders 1993). The Authority comprises elected members from the constituent Local Authorities within the Region: Meath, Kildare and Wicklow (there are also nine town councils, in Trim, Navan, Kells, Bray, Greystones, Wicklow, Arklow, Naas, and Athy). The members of the Regional Authority meet once a month. The Authority is assisted by two committees, the Operational Committee and the EU Operational Committee. The Operational Committee’s function is to assist and advise the Authority in the discharge of its functions. This committee is chaired by the Authorities Cathaoirleach (Chairperson) and membership is drawn from senior management from Local Authorities and other public service agencies in the region. The EU Operational Committee assists the Authority in matters relating to EU assistance and the monitoring of various EU Operational Programmes applicable in the Region. The main role and function of the Regional Authority are:

(a) to promote co-ordination and, where appropriate, co-operation , joint action , joint arrangements, agreements, communication or consultation between local authorities or other public authorities in the region or between such authorities of other regions.

(b) To promote co-ordination, consistency and compatibility with programmes, plans policies, proposals or objectives of the Government or any Minister of the Government.

 

  Regional Priorities

The Mid-East Region has specific policies with respect to local development, the protection of the regions natural and built heritage and amenities, and policies relating to the control of development. The settlement strategy in the Mid-East seeks to promote development into a series of tiers, with the primary growth centers at the top, then secondary growth centers, with other towns and villages located in tiers below. In general, the regions spatial strategy seeks to promote the development of settlements in accordance with their location in the hierarchy. As part of this hierarchy, the Development Plans seek to promote industrial and commercial development particularly in the primary and secondary growth centers.  The strategic aim of these policies is to create a more sustainable balanced development pattern in the hinterland area, particularly given the close proximity of the Dublin urban area. Of particular importance in the Mid-East is the role of rural areas. Specific policies are in place to control the pressure for urban generated housing in rural areas and to promote rural regeneration in rural disadvantaged areas. In terms of economic development a key priority is the relief of supply constraints in relation to infrastructure and some categories of the labour market. Against the backdrop of increasing population levels and significant housing demand and supply, continued investment in transport and services infrastructure, water and waste management is also a high priority.

  European Priorities

The Mid-East Region is characterized by a strong rural component which is in proximity to a major urban settlement. Consequently, a priority for the region is to maintain a sustainable rural identity in the face of ever increasing urban encroachment driven by the rapid expansion of Dublin city. To assist in addressing this issue the Mid-East Region is interested in cooperating with regions facing similar pressures on their housing capacity, environment, transport and waste infrastructure. The Region also has an upland area of important natural beauty, the Wicklow Mountains National Park, and would be interested in working with other EU regions on projects that examine ways to protect and enhance such areas while improving access for the public. The Mid-East Region also has a high proportion of senior citizens and is interested in collaborating with other EU regions in developing projects which improve the lives of older people and which contribute to their health and quality of life.

 

  European Experience

The Mid-East Regional Authority has been involved in a number of EU funded projects. For a number of years now the region has been an active partner in the implementation of the Ireland Wales Interreg programme. The Interreg programme promotes cross-border cooperation and aims to promote the sustainable development of the cross-border region through an integrated approach to economic, social and environmental development. The joint budget for current Interreg IIIA programme is €70 million, and a total of €48.5 million is available in ERDF grants over the life of the programme, with the balance made up of matching funding from Welsh and Irish partnership interests.

The Mid East Regional Authority is also one of the founding members of the Silver Economy Network of European Regions (SEN@ER), which was launched in February 2005. The aim of the network is to improve the quality of life for older citizens and boost economic growth in European regions by supporting the development of the “silver” economy.

Example of EU Project

Project title:  Sustainable Recreational use of National Assets (SRUNA)

EU Programme: The LIFE Environment programme

The objective of the SRUNA project (1998-2000) was to develop a demonstration model in planning that would facilitate the sustainable recreational use of natural assets in a rapidly expanding city region. The SRUNA model aims to be innovative and capable of repetition elsewhere in Europe and recognises the principle categories of recreational natural assets as, coastal, scenic landscapes and riverine assets. The application of Local Agenda 21, that is, the promotion of economic, social and environmental sustainability, was central to the development of the SRUNA methodology.

EU Partners: This project was a joint initiative by the Mid-East and Dublin Regional Authorities. There were also two transnational partners, the Association of Local Authorities in Skane, South Sweden and Porto City Council.

Total Funding:             €2.2 million

EU Contribution:          €1.21 million       

Contacts:

Dublin Regional Authority,

11 Parnell Square

Dublin 1

Ireland
Telephone:          353-1-8745018

Fax:                      353-1-8788080

Website: http://www.dra.ie/sruna/

 

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