Elected Members of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly call for emergency meeting with senior government representatives

  • Request for meeting comes as new Eurostat GDP figures show regional inequality continues to remain high in Ireland.
  • The Northern and Western Region’s GDP per capita is now only 71% of the EU27 average in 2020
  • The Assembly believes urgent action is needed to implement Project Ireland 2040 and address regional inequalities

The elected members of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly have called for an emergency meeting with senior government representatives to express their concern that government policy is currently not delivering for the Northern and Western Region of Ireland.

Chairperson of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly, Cllr Christy Hyland said:

“These figures show regional inequality continue to remain too high in Ireland. The matter goes beyond politics and government. The Assembly recognises that the Government has committed considerable resources to the region, but less than the east and south. We need a new approach and accelerated investment”

In this regard, the elected members of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly want to meet senior representatives of government to highlight that urgent action is needed to implement the vision and objectives of Project Ireland 2040, address regional inequalities and support balanced regional development in Ireland.

The request for this meeting comes as new Eurostat GDP figures show regional inequality in Ireland continues to remain notably high. As per the latest data, the Northern and Western Region’s GDP per capita – as a percentage of the EU27 average – was estimated to be 71% in 2020, which was down 34 percentage points on its previous peak of 105% as of 2006 and was down 17 percentage points on the region’s performance a decade ago, when the region’s GDP per capita was 88% of the EU27 average in 2010.

Revised Eurostat figures were also provided for 2019 which showed the region’s GDP per capita – as a percentage of the EU27 average – was estimated to be 67% in 2019; the first time the region’s performance dropped below 70% of the EU27 average since this timeseries data was released.

If the evaluation period for EU funding was to be applied using the last three years of data – namely 2018, 2019 and 2020 as opposed to the existing evaluation period – the Northern and Western Region would have been downgraded as a “Less Developed Region”, instead of its existing status as a “Transition Region”. In contrast, the Southern Region and the Eastern and Midland Region are classified as “More Developed Regions”, which are regions with a GDP per capita above 100% of the EU27 average during the evaluation period.

Furthermore, Eurostat have also released their latest sub-regional GDP figures, with these statistics showing the economic performance of the Border and the West relative to the EU27 average between 2000 and 2019. Notably, it was found that the Border’s GDP per capita – as a percentage of the EU27 average – was estimated to 64% in 2019, whereas the corresponding figure for the West was 69%.

Considering these trends – along with recent developments highlighted in CSO’s “County Income and Regional GDP” publication – the elected members of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly feel that an emergency meeting with senior government representatives is urgently required to tackle this growing inequality.

A detailed briefing note on regional GDP and disposable income figures can be downloaded below.

Briefing Note on Regional GDP and Disposable Income