Regions of Ireland: the Mid-West

                          Mid-West Regional Authority

Contact:      Mr. Anthony Coleman (Director)



Address:     Friar Court, Abbey st., Nenagh, Co. Tipperary

Tel:               +353 67 33197

Fax:              + 353 67 34401

Profile of the Region

The Mid-West Regional Authority is one of eight statutory regions and comprises the following units of primary local government: Limerick City Council, Limerick County Council, Clare County Council, and Tipperary North County Council. This accounts for about 10% of the national land area and population of the country. The region’s location on the Atlantic seaboard accounts for its considerable maritime influences. The River Shannon also passes through the Mid-West forming a distinctive corridor and unifying force in the character of the area. Much of the rural areas are given to pasturelands, with upland areas confined to the fringes of the Region. The Mid-West is a relatively diverse region. The Limerick/Ennis/Shannon triangle is an area of strong urban growth and includes the regional capital of Limerick City, Shannon Airport, Ennis (the “Information Age Town”), the University of Limerick, Limerick Institute of Technology and the Tipperary Institute in Thurles. However the region also contains a number of rural areas with significant population decline, such as the West Clare seaboard and parts of West Limerick. This internal diversity militates against a strong sense of regional consciousness. In addition, several parts of the region display a strong external orientation, having a natural tendency to identify themselves with neighboring pars of other regions. For example, parts of North Tipperary would tend to look eastwards rather than towards the hub of the Shannon Region.


The Mid-West Region Authority map


  Socio-economic data

NUTS level



Area (sq. kms)



% of area of State




339,591 (2002)


% of national population



Population density (persons/sq km)



Regional capital (town/city)

Limerick City





Regional GDP (2002)



GDP (% of State, 2002)



GDP (% of EU25, 2002)



Workforce (Sept. 03)



Employment rate



Employment in key industries:


1. Services



2. Industrial



3. Agricultural




  Regional Structures

The Mid West 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 26 elected members from the constituent Local Authorities within the Region: Limerick County council, Limerick City Council, North Tipperary County Council and Clare County Council. The members of the Regional Authority meet once a month. The main function of the Regional Authority is:

  • 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.
  • to promote co-ordination, consistency and compatibility with programmes, plans policies, proposals or objectives of the Government or any Minister of the Government.

In carrying out its duties 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. 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.


Regional Priorities

The Mid-West Region features a strong central economic core embracing Limerick City and the nearby centres of Shannon and Ennis. In particular, the Shannon Free Zone, Shannon International Airport, Shannon Estuary Ports and the major educational institutions of University of Limerick, Limerick Institute of Technology and Tipperary Institute are major assets to the region.  However some parts of the region are relatively remote from this core in terms of distance and travel time. Furthermore, agricultural employment has decreased significantly in recent years and rural areas need to be supported in the face of increasing economic pressure. 

Tourism plays a significant role in the economy of the region, which contains a number of important tourism assets. Key policies for tourism include identifying and securing strategic tourism investment that will significantly increase employment and tourism flows into and throughout the region, enhancing the quality of visitor services, and the management and development of heritage tourism in a commercially sustainable manner.

Growth prospects for the future centre on biotechnology and medical technology, ICT (including software and digital content), aerospace, tourism/leisure, agribusiness and logistics (warehousing and distribution).

Transport and access are key issues for the region. The Dublin/Limerick corridor and the western corridor, linking Cork/Limerick/Galway, have a particular strategic importance for the region.  The development of the Western Rail Corridor with a link to Shannon is also a priority.

Key issues in the area of the environment include the protection of the regions natural resources, the use resources in a sustainable way, the management of waste and the protection of the built environment.


European Priorities

The Mid West Region is interested in cooperating with other EU regions in areas related to the above priorities. Through its experience as a partner in EU projects and initiatives, the Mid West Region believes that cooperation with other EU regions can greatly enhance the capacity of the regions to advance its own agenda while also contributing to development in the partner regions.

The Mid West Regions sees considerable merit in developing cooperative arrangements in the following areas:

  • Developing regional innovation and competitiveness
  • The development of clusters
  • Rural development
  • Regional tourism development
  • Management of heritage sites
  • Development and marketing of regional airports
  • Protection and management of the natural environment
  • Waste management

  European Experience

The Mid-West Regional Authority has been a partner in a number of EU Initiatives since 1995, cooperating under various European Programmes, including INTERREG II and III and the Fifth and Sixth Framework Programmes for Research & Technological Development. The Authority currently sits on the INTERREG IIIB Atlantic Area Monitoring Committee and actively promotes inter-regional cooperation & regional development through its programme of work and participation in European projects. The Mid West Region is currently a partner in EU projects in the following areas: using ICT to enhance public service delivery, the promotion of new technologies in rural areas, the development of water sports in the Atlantic area, spatial development in the Atlantic area, and developing the tourism potential of the equestrian industry.

In addition to its direct participation in EU projects, the Mid West Regional Authority also has responsibility of reviewing and monitoring the implementation of measures for which EU assistance is made available in the Mid-West Region. Also like other Regional Authorities in Ireland, members of the MWRA represent the Region on the EU Committee of the Regions.

Example of EU Project

Project title: CitizenFirst

EU programme: INTERREG IIIB North West Europe

Services for citizens are increasingly being deployed by public agencies on a supply-side efficiency basis, without actually determining the needs and wishes of the citizen.  This has led to low usage of the services by many citizens, especially those with special needs and/or living in rural areas. CitizenFirst is a Transnational Project that will explore the opportunities provided by ICT delivery and access to the Information Society to redress this trend, by putting each Citizen at the centre of the services being provided to them in the context of their needs and community. Partners in the project include the Mid-West Regional Authority (IRL) – lead partner, Cambridgeshire County Council (UK), Eindhoven Regional Government (NL), and the City of Ieper and the City of Kortrijk (BE).

Total Funding: €3.9m

EU contribution: €1.9m

Contact details:

Marie Collins

Mid-West Regional Authority

Friar Court,

Abbey Street,


Co. Tipperary


Tel: +353 67 33197

Fax: + 353 67 34401




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