Quarter of all workers in Western Region live in Galway city labour catchment

The Galway City labour catchment is the largest labour catchment in the Western Region with over 70,000 living there and ‘at work’ (70,170 ) — accounting for 26.9% of the total resident ‘at work’ population within the Western Region (260,261 ).

This is one of the findings of a new report carried out by the Western Development Commission (WDC ), which has carried out in-depth research into the commuting patterns of those at work in the Western Region.

The Galway City labour catchment includes most of county Galway and extends beyond the county boundary, to the north into Mayo and to the south into Clare.

The number of workers living in the catchment is more than double the number of workers living in Galway city, highlighting the significantly larger labour supply available.

Deirdre Frost, Policy Analyst at the WDC noted, “This is significant in the context of the recently published Project Ireland 2040, where urban centres such as Galway will be expected to grow in importance. The forthcoming Regional Economic and Spatial Strategies will have to set out plans to support greater growth in urban centres and employment growth is central to this”.

Of those living in the Galway City labour catchment, 55.3% (38,808 ) are employed within Galway City and suburbs and 44.7% (31,362 ) are employed outside the city and in the rest of the catchment and beyond.

Key destinations outside the city include Galway Rural (22.3% or 15,620 ), Tuam (1.8% or 1,285 ) and Athenry (1.8% or 1,248 ).

The maps illustrate that workers are willing to commute long distance to employment locations within Galway City. This is not surprising given the greater number and quality of jobs within the city, compared with surrounding areas.

“There is a higher proportion of workers travelling into Galway city to work before 7.30am than in any of the other catchments. This is likely to be related to distance travelled, congestion on some routes and shift work”, according to Deirdre Frost, Policy Analyst, WDC.

The age profile of those working in Galway City is quite young and second youngest of the five cities in Ireland and also the second youngest of the seven county towns in the Western Region.

Those at work and living in the Galway City labour catchment have a higher level of education than State average – with rates of 61.3% and 56.1% respectively (3rd level ). This rate is higher than all other Western Region county town catchments. Those within the catchment and employed in Galway City have an even higher rate of third level education at 65.3%.

The most important employment sector is the ‘Education, Human Health and Social Work’ sector and accounts for 26.6% (18,655 ) which is higher than the State average (22.8% ).

The ‘Wholesale, Retail and Commerce’ (23.3% or 16,360 ) and ‘ICT and Professional Services’ (15.9% or 11,125 ) are both important employment sectors although both are below the State average.

Manufacturing Industries (18.3% or 12,855 ) is the fourth most important employment sector across the Galway city labour catchment and is much higher than the State average of 13%.

The labour catchments of other towns within county Galway such as Tuam, Ballinasloe, Loughrea and Clifden also play an important part of labour catchments within Galway county. These towns are themselves the most important places for employment for those living in their immediate hinterlands, and therefore constitute separate, but small, labour catchments.

Commenting on the findings, the Chairperson of the WDC, Dr. Deirdre Garvey said this is very valuable information as it provides robust analysis of travel to work patterns in centres such as Galway city. Comparing these data with the original WDC analysis 10 years earlier provides insights into trends. It will be of particular value to policy-makers in the context of Project Ireland 2040 and the development of the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies informing decisions on commuting patterns and enterprise location”.

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