BUNCLODY IS OFFICIALLY the most economically depressed town in Ireland, a new report by Teagasc shows.
The County Wexford town, classified as Bunclody-Carrickduff in the report, is the worst performer out of 302 towns included.
Using an index based on unemployment rate and inward migration figures, the food and agriculture development agency ran the rule over all towns with a population of more than 1,500.
The top five best performing towns were:
- Bearna, County Galway
- Rathmore, County Kerry
- Balraheen, County Kildare
- Bantry, County Cork
- Whitechurch, County Cork
Bunclody was joined in the bottom five by Robertstown in Kildare, Rathkeale in County Limerick, Carrick-on-Suir in Tipperary and Abbeyfeale in Limerick.
Sligo and Cork were the best performing counties, with Offaly and Carlow performing worst overall.
In one of the most complete portraits of rural Ireland ever compiled, huge variances in the fortunes of Ireland’s rural town-dwellers were uncovered, including:
- There is a 40 percentage point difference in the levels of tertiary education between the strongest and weakest towns.
- Weaker towns have more empty houses than the average.
- Weaker towns are located on the edges of the commuter belts associated with cities
Teagasc cautioned that a one size fits all solution wouldn’t work when trying to address the myriad issues facing small towns.
Head of rural economy and development Cathal O’Donoghue said despite the fact that one third of the Irish population live in rural towns and their immediate hinterlands, they are often ignored at a strategic planning level.
“These rural towns have a lower focus in national development strategies over the past decade and a half.”
Originally published 2.17pm