Regions of Ireland: the South-West


                           South-West Regional Authority

Contact:      Mr. John Forde (Director)



Address:     Innishmore, Ballincollig, Co. Cork 

Tel:               +353-21-4876877

Fax:              +353-21-4876872


 Profile of the Region

Since the 8th Century, when Irish monks voyaged from County Kerry to areas of Europe and Scandinavia, the South-West Region has been developing links with communities across Europe. Today we still welcome working closely with European regions, which share our objectives to promote growth, quality of life and protection of the environment. The South-West Region is one of Ireland’s premier regions in terms of growth and employment as well as tourism. The regional population is steadily growing with many people migrating to the South-West, as an excellent location in which to work and live. Our mild climate, excellent educational infrastructure, with one large university and two major regional Institutes of Technology, coupled with a high quality and scenic environment, all contribute to the attractiveness of this region.  The region is the headquarters for a wide range of multi-national companies specialising in areas such as Electronics and Pharmaceuticals. Food is a key sector in our region and as well as many large food cooperatives producing very well know international brands, the region is also highly specialized in the production of local cheeses, smoked salmon products etc. The South-West is well served with excellent road and rail services to locations throughout Ireland. Cork International Airport and Kerry International Airport provide a wide range of Air Services to locations throughout Europe. Ferry services operate between Cork, the UK and France.

The South-West Region Authority map                                                       


Socio-economic Data


NUTS level




Area (sq. kms)




% of area of State




Population (2007)




% of national population




Population density


51.08 persons per sq. km


Regional capital (town/city)


Cork City


Population (2007, incl. sububs)




Regional GDP (2002)


€ 22,377m


GDP per capita (% of State, 2002)




GDP per capita (% of EU25, 2002)




Workforce (2003)




Employment rate (2003)




Employment in key industries


1. Services




2.Industrial employment









 Regional Structures

The South-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 24 elected members from the constituent Local Authorities within the Region: Cork City Council, Cork County Council and Kerry County Council. This includes the region’s representative on the EU Committee of the Regions. The Regional Authority is placed strategically between National Government and Local Government and provides a strategic planning and co-ordinating role between these other levels of governance. The members of the Regional Authority meet once a month and their work is assisted by two Operational committees.  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; and (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 South-West is notable in two respects at least, one that it is a highly scenic region, with large numbers of visitors, who come to the region each year to experience the warm welcome, the traditional music and heritage and to enjoy the wonderful environment. On the other hand it is a highly prosperous region and the headquarters for many multinational corporations, engaged mainly in the food sector and in the electronics and pharmaceutical industries. These industries are mainly concentrated around Cork City and its environs. The regions stringent policies in relation to industrial development and the excellent standards operated by industry in the region, clearly demonstrate that one can have high levels of development and yet retain a pristine environment. Agriculture and other traditional primary sector activities are in decline in the region and a key priority is to develop the region within the knowledge economy with a strong emphasis on the growth of small indigenous companies.


 European Priorities


The South-West region is interested in working with other EU regions and partners on programmes and initiatives that can contribute to addressing the above priorities and which add value to the work being undertaken within the region. In addition, the South West is specifically interested in participating in European projects and initiatives in the following areas: developing regional research potential, regional innovation, supporting regional industrial clusters, eGovernment and eDemocracy, and tourism and leisure.


 European Experience


The South-West has been an active partner in many European projects under the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth framework programmes. We are also very active in Interreg projects and have developed a level of experience in the areas of Information and Communications technologies and tourism development 

EU Project Example

Project name: e-bygov

EU Programme: Interreg IIIB Atlantic Arc programme.

The main aims of the e-bygov project are to make government services more responsive, easier to use and more accessible for all citizens and businesses in the Atlantic Area. The e-bygov project focus is on concrete e-government applications that will have a positive socio-economic impact in regions and the Atlantic Area. There are two central themes that will be tested across the partner regions: 1. Changing working practices and 2. Public access to services & information. The South West Regional Authority’s involvement is primarily concerned with e-democracy, developing online consultation tools, and engaging communities in e-government.

EU Partners: Lancashire County Council (UK) – lead partner, South East Regional Authority (Ireland), Gobierno de la Rioja/SAICAR (Spain), Labein (Spain), South West Regional Authority (Ireland), Ventspils City Council and Microsoft (Latvia)

Total Funding:              €479,559.18

EU Contribution:          €356,809.13

Contact Details:        

Sinead Crowley

Project Manager

South West Regional Authority





Tel: +353 21 4876877



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