John Daly, an economist with the 3 Regional Assemblies in Ireland, writes on the profound impact of Covid-19 on Ireland’s economy, pointing to data from a new report that looks at Ireland’s economic exposure and resilience at the local, regional and national level.
The outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19) will have a profound impact on every aspect of Irish society. As a result of the necessary public health measures needed to curtail the spread of Covid-19, Ireland has moved from being one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe with near full employment, to a point where the unemployment rate is now forecasted to peak at 22 per cent by the second quarter of 2020.
This economic impact will have far-reaching implications throughout Ireland and the ability of policymakers to use an evidence-based approach in identifying the exposure, resilience and appropriate responses of our regions, counties and towns is critically important. Unfortunately, evidence at the appropriate level has been extremely limited. In the absence of such up-to-date regional data, and considering the sheer scale of this crisis, the need to identify and understand the economic exposure and resilience of areas across Ireland has never been stronger.
The three Regional Assemblies of Ireland play a leadership role in regional development working with key stakeholders at EU, national, regional and local level to accelerate this agenda. This involves providing advice and support to other appropriate public bodies of the regional implications of their policies and plans, with specific focus on planning and economic development. Under their remit, the three Regional Assemblies of Ireland are fully committed to assisting in tackling such challenges and in supporting economic recovery across all of Ireland’s regions. On this basis, the three Regional Assemblies of Ireland have prepared a “Covid-19 Regional Economic Analysis” to identify which regions, sub-regions, counties, cities and towns are more likely to be exposed to economic disruption caused by the necessary measures needed to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The purpose of the report is to inform policymakers at a local, regional and national level of the extent of economic exposure and resilience across Ireland.
This is consistent with the key principal of building economic resilience which is detailed in each assembly’s Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy. This will be achieved by identifying the potential regional economic impact of Covid-19, ensuring that national, regional and local bodies are best equipped in designing appropriate policy responses to this unprecedented crisis.
Ultimately, solutions – based on an evidence-based approach – are needed now more than ever and it is imperative that there is greater awareness of the potential economic exposure of Ireland’s regions, counties and towns.