Rural towns in Donegal have fared miserably in a recent index compiled to measure the economic strength of towns in Ireland.
The average ranking of 25 rural towns in the country saw Donegal finish fourth from the bottom in an index of the average rank per county. No Donegal town finished in the strongest category, the top 50, in the Index of the Economic Strength of Rural Towns in Ireland, which was produced by Teagasc. Seven rural towns in Donegal finished in the category ranked weakest.
Fianna Fáil Councillor, Brendan Byrne said: “This is a sad indictment the government and European policy. In fact, the situation has worsened greatly with the anti-rural coalition government whose policy to close rural schools, garda stations, post offices and indeed everything else that makes life possible in rural Ireland.”
The research analysed towns and their surrounding districts that had a population of 1500 or more in 2011. The index based economic “strength” on the unemployment rate and the level of migration. The lower the unemployment rate, the stronger the town was and the higher the level of inward migration, the stronger the town was. The index was calculated using the CSO Census Small Area Population Statistics for 2011.
Sinn Féin Councillor, Marie Therese Gallagher said the index reflected the work of successive governments.
“We need to use this report to fight back for rural areas, rural towns and rural people. Policies need to change. We have to make the government sit up and listen to us,” she said.
Donegal rural towns in the index were: Fahan, which was ranked 115, Ballmacool 133, Castlewray - 146, Donegal - 154, Knock - 156, Rutland - 165, Redford - 166, Magheraboy - 173. Ramelton - 188, Carndonagh - 194, Bundoran - 197, Killea - 202, An Bun Beag-Doire Beaga - 212, Mountcharles 229, Ballybofey-Stranorlar - 223, Annagary - 239, Buncrana -242, Gortahork - 247, Dungloe - 252, Killybegs - 268, Moville - 273, Lifford - 284, Letterkenny - 286, Crossroads - 290, Ballyshannon - 291.