2016-2021 COUNTY ROSCOMMON - LOCAL ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY PLAN

 
2016-2021 COUNTY ROSCOMMON - LOCAL ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY PLAN
COUNTY ROSCOMMON
LOCAL ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY PLAN

          2016-2021

       Roscommon County Council
        Comhairle Chontae Ros Comáin
2016-2021 COUNTY ROSCOMMON - LOCAL ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY PLAN
The Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) for County
Roscommon 2016-2021 was developed by Roscommon County
Council through the Economic Development and Enterprise
Support Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) and the Local
Community Development Committee (LCDC) and in line with
guidelines issued by the Department of the Environment,
Community and Local Government (Circular LG 1/2015 AL
1/2015) The LECP is subject to continuous monitoring and
review. Annual Action Plans, based on the goals and objectives
outlined in this plan, will be devised and implemented by
Roscommon County Council and relevant stakeholders.

The LECP for County Roscommon is aligned with and
complements the Roscommon County Development Plan and
other relevant strategies at regional, national and EU, levels.

Further Information:

Community and Enterprise Department,
Roscommon County Council,
Áras an Chontae,
Roscommon,
Co. Roscommon
F42 VR98

Tel:      09066 37350
Email:    communityandenterprise@roscommoncoco.ie
Web:      www.roscommon.ie
2016-2021 COUNTY ROSCOMMON - LOCAL ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY PLAN
Contents
Cathaoirleach’s Foreword                                                                             iii

Chief Executive’s Foreword                                                                           iv

Executive Summary                                                                                     1

1 Introduction                                                                                        4
      1.1    Context                                                                                  4
      1.2    Purpose of the Local Economic and Community Plan                                         4
      1.3    Structures for Development and Implementation                                            4
      1.4    Monitoring                                                                               5
      1.5    The Development Process                                                                  5
      1.6    Alignment                                                                                6

2 Socio-Economic Profile – A Summary                                                                  7
      2.1    Evidence Base                                                                            7
      2.2    Geography and Population                                                                 8
      2.3    Settlement Patterns                                                                      9
      2.4    Education, Skills and Graduate Retention                                                10
      2.5    Labour Force and Employment                                                              11
      2.6    Size and Scale of Enterprise Sector                                                     12
      2.7    Enterprise and Innovation Enablers                                                      14
      2.8    Community Infrastructure and Services                                                   15
      2.9    Natural, Environmental, Cultural and Heritage Resources                                 17

3 Regional Perspective                                                                               19
      3.1    Overview                                                                                19
      3.2    Regional Economic Performance and Sectoral Priorities                                   19
      3.3    Potential for Regional Partnering & External Support                                    20

4 SWOT Analysis                                                                                      22
      4.1    Economic SWOT                                                                           22
      4.2    Community SWOT                                                                          24

5 Vision and High Level Goals                                                                        26
      5.1    Overall Vision                                                                          26
      5.2    High Level Goals                                                                        26

                                        County Roscommon Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021   i
2016-2021 COUNTY ROSCOMMON - LOCAL ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY PLAN
Contents (Continued)

      6 Objectives and Actions                                                                                                                        28
                 6.1        Specific Objectives                                                                                                       28
                 6.2        Overview of Actions                                                                                                       28
                 6.3        Outputs and Targets                                                                                                       29
                 6.4        Annual Implementation Plans                                                                                               29
                            Goal 1: Vibrant Communities                                                                                               32
                            Goal 2: Job Creation                                                                                                      34
                            Goal 3: Positive Brand Image                                                                                              36
                            Goal 4: Protect and Enhance Natural and Cultural Assets                                                                   40
                            Goal 5: Strategic Infrastructure                                                                                          43
                            Goal 6: Competitiveness in Priority Industry Sectors                                                                      45
                            Goal 7: Inclusive Society                                                                                                 49

      Bibliography / Reference Documents                                                                                                              51

     ACRONYMS
     AA	�������������������������� Appropriate Assessment                        LECP	����������������Local Economic & Community Plan
     AFI 	������������������������ Age Friendly Ireland                          LEO	������������������Local Enterprise Office
     AGS 	���������������������� An Garda Síochána                               LTACC	��������������Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative
     AIT 	������������������������ Athlone Institute of Technology                                               Committee
     BMW	���������������������� Border, Midland & Western (Region)               NUIG	���������������������� National University of Ireland, Galway
     CE 	�������������������������� Community Employment                         NUTS 3	���������������� Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics (EU)
     CECs 	�������������������� Community Enterprise Centres                     NWRA 	������������������ Northern & Western Regional Assembly
     CEDRA	���������������� Commission for the Economic Development of           OPC 	���������������������� Older Peoples Council
                                      Rural Areas                                PC 	�������������������������� Personal Computer
     Chambers	���������� Chambers of Commerce in Co. Roscommon                   PPN	����������������������� Public Participation Network
     CIC	������������������������� Citizens Information Centre                   RAFA	�������������������� Roscommon Age Friendly Alliance
     CSO 	���������������������� Central Statistics Office                       RCC	������������������������ Roscommon County Council
     CSP	����������������������� Community Services Programme                    RCCC 	�������������������� Roscommon Community Childcare Committee
     CYPSC 	���������������� Children and Young Peoples Services Committee       RCDP	�������������������� Roscommon County Development Plan
     DAHG 	������������������ Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht     RCTN	�������������������� Roscommon Community Tourism Network
     DCCOI	������������������ Design & Craft Council of Ireland                  REDZ	�������������������� Rural Economic Development Zones
     DCENR	���������������� Department of Communications, Energy and             RIS3	���������������������� Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart
                                      Natural Resources                                                          Specialisation
     DECLG 	���������������� Department of the Environment, Community and        RLLN 	�������������������� Roscommon Local Learning Network
                                      Local Government                           RLP	������������������������ Roscommon LEADER Partnership
     DJEI	���������������������� Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation   RoLeSkillNet	���� Roscommon Leitrim Skillnet (National Training
     DSP 	���������������������� Department of Social Protection                                                 Network)
     DTTAS 	���������������� Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport          ROSWIN	�������������� Roscommon Women in Business Network
     EI 	���������������������������� Enterprise Ireland                         RSF	������������������������ Regional Skills Forum
     EU 	�������������������������� European Union                               RSP	����������������������� Roscommon Sports Partnership
     FI 	���������������������������� Failte Ireland                             RSS	����������������������� Rural Social Scheme
     GAA 	���������������������� Gaelic Athletic Association                     RTIG	���������������������� Roscommon Traveller Interagency Group
     GDP 	���������������������� Gross Domestic Product                          RWN	���������������������� Roscommon Women’s Network
     GMIT	���������������������� Galway Mayo Institute of Technology             SEA 	���������������������� Strategic Environmental Assessments
     GRETB 	���������������� Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board       SEAI	���������������������� Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland
     HEIs 	���������������������� Higher Education Institutes                    SICAP	������������������ Social Inclusion and Community Activation
     HSE 	���������������������� Health Service Executive                                                        Programme
     IBAL	���������������������� Irish Business Against Litter                   SME 	���������������������� Small and Medium Size Enterprise
     ICT	�������������������������� Information and Communications Technology    SOLAS 	�������������� An tSeirbhís Oideachais Leanúnaigh & Scileanna
     IDA 	������������������������ Industrial Development Authority              SPC	����������������������� Strategic Policy Committee
     IFA	�������������������������� Irish Farmers Association                    TII 	�������������������������� Transport Infrastructure Ireland
     IT Sligo	���������������� Institute of Technology, Sligo                    TÚS	����������������������� Community Workplacement Initiative
     JPC	������������������������ Joint Policing Committee                       UNESCO 	������������ United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
     LA 	�������������������������� Local Authority                                                              Organization
     LCDC 	�������������������� Local Community Development Committee            WDC	���������������������� Western Development Commission
     LDS	������������������������ Local Development Strategy                     WRDTF	���������������� Western Region Drugs Task Force

ii   County Roscommon Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021
2016-2021 COUNTY ROSCOMMON - LOCAL ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY PLAN
Cathaoirleach’s Foreword

   As Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council,
   I welcome the publication of the County Roscommon
   Local Economic and Community Plan (2016 – 2021).

I also welcome the level of engagement that has           This Local Economic and Community plan forms the
been undertaken with our key stakeholders in the          overarching strategy for the delivery of this vision for
community, enterprise and economic sectors to             County Roscommon in the next six years. It promotes
ensure the plan is all encompassing in its objectives.    and supports an inclusive collaborative approach as
I sincerely thank all those who have participated         the only means through which successful community
in and contributed to the various consultation            and economic development can be achieved. The
processes that have been undertaken during the            plan provides the framework through which this
development of this comprehensive plan.                   development can be delivered.
The vision set out in the plan is to further develop a    I am confident that, with our efforts and those of
county that is attractive, inclusive and prosperous,      all of our key stakeholders and partners, this vision
and continues to be a vibrant place in which to live,     can be achieved for the good of all the citizens of
invest, work, visit and do business.                      our county.
                                                          Councillor Paddy Kilduff
                                                          Cathaoirleach

                                            County Roscommon Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021      iii
2016-2021 COUNTY ROSCOMMON - LOCAL ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY PLAN
Chief Executive’s Foreword

       Local authorities, nationally, have been assigned
       the enhanced role of community and economic
       development of their counties.

     The development and publication of the Local             There is a real urgency associated with the
     Economic and Community Plan brings this                  delivery of the objectives and priorities set out in
     enhanced role to the forefront of our priorities         the plan. Roscommon must be ready to develop,
     for the next six years and into the future. The          avail of and take advantage of the opportunities
     plan has been developed by the Local Community           that will arise in the coming years. As Chief
     Development Committee and the Economic                   Executive of Roscommon County Council, I have
     Development and Enterprise Support Strategic             already moved to put resources in place to meet
     Policy Committee in a collaborative, evidence-           the new role of the Local Authority in economic
     based fashion and sets out clear objectives and          and community development. I look forward to
     priorities for the development of the county.            working successfully with our partners to deliver
                                                              on this plan for the benefit of all the people of
     The collaborative approach adopted in the
                                                              Roscommon.
     development of the plan is to be welcomed and
     will be required on a continuous basis. Annual
                                                              Eugene Cummins
     Implementation Plans will be formulated with our
                                                              Chief Executive
     key partners and stakeholders to deliver on the
     objectives of the plan.

iv   County Roscommon Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021
2016-2021 COUNTY ROSCOMMON - LOCAL ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY PLAN
Executive Summary

Executive Summary
Roscommon is an inland county in the West Region and contains the geographic
centre of Ireland. It is strategically positioned to serve a wide hinterland with a
significant regional population of over 300,000 people.
Roscommon County Council has the primary                   ●●   Generally good quality of life, with Roscommon
responsibility for leading economic, social and                 people living longer than others.
community development in the county. In the                ●●   Good volunteering activity across the
current competitive and challenging environment,                community that needs support.
there is a need to build a reputation as a proactive
and progressive county, capitalising on its assets,        ●●   Some deficits in community infrastructure and
developing key strengths and promoting its                      accessibility issues, including youth provision,
advantages as an attractive place to live, work,                which needs to be addressed.
visit, invest and do business. To achieve this aim,        ●●   Increasing older population which presents
this Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP)                   challenges for service provision.
sets out the high level goals, objectives and actions      ●●   Variety of transport/accessibility issues in
to promote and support economic and community                   county need to be addressed.
development in County Roscommon over the period
2016-2021.
                                                           ●●   Some disadvantaged areas and target groups
                                                                requiring capacity building/support.
The LECP is presented against a backdrop of notable
issues and challenges, including:                          Additionally, the plan takes into consideration
                                                           the regional standpoint in which Roscommon is
●●   Roscommon is 3rd most rural county but with           positioned, with potential for collaboration with
     good growth in main urban areas.                      neighbouring counties in the West Region and other
●●   Small rural towns and villages are suffering          nearby counties to achieve common goals.
     decline.
●●   Increasing population, but significant outflow        Vision and Objectives
     of young working-age group, which also
     provides a large diaspora.                            The six-year Vision for the county, to be achieved by
●●   Very low graduate retention and employment,           2021, is set out as follows:
     resulting in a brain drain.
●●   No third level institution/research centre, but
                                                                To ensure, through collaboration
     several campuses located nearby.                           and the provision of strong
●●   Generally low levels of entrepreneurship and
     new job creation.
                                                                leadership in partnership with
●●   Job losses in traditional sectors, but growth              the community, that County
     in new knowledge sectors, including medtech
     and lifesciences/pharma.
                                                                Roscommon is an attractive,
●●   Deficit in enterprise and incubation                       inclusive, prosperous and vibrant
     infrastructure, especially for new knowledge-
     based and specialist sectors, e.g. food, ICT,              place in which to live, work,
     creative and lifesciences.                                 invest, do business and to visit.
●●   Underperformance of tourism sector but with
     potential for development.
                                                           To achieve this, seven High Level Goals, across
●●   Underserved with high speed broadband                 both economic and community activities, have been
     access, with identified blackspots.                   established.
●●   County has a rich natural and cultural heritage
     with development potential.

                                             County Roscommon Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021   1
2016-2021 COUNTY ROSCOMMON - LOCAL ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY PLAN
Executive Summary

        These are broken down into a number of clear objectives, incorporating 138 specific actions, which collectively,
        are designed to deliver key outputs and targets over the next six years, summarised as follows:

        Seven High Level Goals and Key Outputs/Targets
        The Actions, Outputs and Targets are agreed with all of the main stakeholders, including responsibility for
        delivery. Agreed timelines are also in place for their implementation, within the timeframe of the overall LECP.

                             Build and Support Local Communities and a Strong Sense of Place
    1         6 Town Team Development/           Implementation of 10 Age-Friendly       Volunteer Service and Volunteer
                 Implementation Plans                   Flagship Initiatives                    Awards Scheme

               Audit of community needs            Dedicated resource in place to           Enhanced Youth Services
                and implementation plan                  support new PPN                       across the county

                          Increase Economic Activity, Job Creation and Employment Opportunities
2              500 new jobs and 50 new              500 businesses with modern           12 new supported projects with
                enterprises per annum                     web presence                       IDA and ConnectIreland

              Increase graduate retention /             5 fibre enabled desk              New economic forum in place
                   employment to 20%                      incubation sites

              Rates incentive scheme and         Targeted business and employment         Dedicated resource in place to
            development contribution waiver               training courses                foster linkages with third level
                        scheme                                                                       institutions

                    Develop a Roscommon brand image and promote a positive identity for the county
3            New brand image and common           Implementation of brand identity      Promote the positive quality of life
                     brand/logo                         across key sectors                   aspects of the county

             Leverage marketing potential of     Modern digital marketing strategy in   Structured ambassador programme
                     Knock Airport                        place for county                           in place

          Protect, enhance and maximise the value of Roscommon’s natural, cultural and heritage resources
4           Delivery of Arts programme with        Delivery of culture, heritage and     Secure UNESCO World heritage
             enhanced Arts infrastructure         bio-diversity awareness activities    status for Rathcroghan Royal Site

              Develop culture and heritage         Bio-diversity conservation and        Plan for Regional Energy Agency
                   tourism initiatives               management programmes

             Provide, maintain and enhance strategic infrastructure that supports economic and community
5                                                    development

              New enabling infrastructure              High speed Broadband                Strategic projects for lower
               for innovative enterprise             hotspots across the county               energy cost solutions

               Audit of community, sports             Enhanced hubs for sport                 Prioritised funding for
                and recreational facilities          community and recreation                transport infrastructure

2       County Roscommon Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021
2016-2021 COUNTY ROSCOMMON - LOCAL ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY PLAN
Executive Summary

          Support priority industry sectors to compete locally, regionally, nationally and internationally
6         Scaling support for 6 priority        Fibre-enabled incubation space in      Innovation Programme to support
               enterprise sectors                      strategic locations                      rural enterprise

        Flagship food development centre          Green Business support with          Shannon corridor development/
             and targeted agri-food                dedicated centre in Boyle             collaborative tourist trails
              support programmes

        Increase tourism activity by 10%             Annual plan to support               Support chain development
                   per annum                        creative and film sectors               in agri-forestry sector

                     Promote social inclusion by reducing poverty and alleviating disadvantage
7        Implement County Roscommon                 Improve and co-ordinate               Delivery of Healthy Ireland
             Age Friendly Strategy                     transport service                  Mental Health Programme

         Disability awareness activities         Delivery of Roscommon Sports               Area action plans and
                   and support                          Partnership Plan                   estate management plan

          Deliver SICAP prog. to build             Deliver Library Plan and ICT        Deliver Labour Market Activation
         capacity, alleviate disadvantage         resources in library locations       measures and SICAP programme
             and combat exclusion                                                               to meet needs

    Delivery Framework
    The LECP will be the overarching framework for               by Roscommon County Council. Overseen by the
    the economic and community development of the                Local Authority, delivery of the individual LECP
    county and will be the primary means of integrating          Actions will be the responsibility of these relevant
    and implementing relevant actions arising under the          public bodies, agencies and other stakeholders, as
    various regional and national plans and strategies           identified in this strategy, that can play a pro-active
    at local level. Going forward, the LECP will be the          role in economic and community development in the
    reference document for the proofing and alignment            county, taking a partnership approach.
    of other locally-based economic and community
                                                                 The LECP will be delivered through a series of Annual
    development strategies.
                                                                 Implementation Plans, agreed at the beginning of
    To ensure consistency towards common goals, and              each year during the timeframe of the plan, to achieve
    to avoid duplication, the LECP is already aligned with       the targets set out. Monitoring will be undertaken on
    all relevant local, regional, national and EU strategies     a regular basis by an advisory committee of local
    and plans. Additionally, Strategic Environmental             enterprise, innovation and community stakeholders
    Assessment (SEA) and Appropriate Assessment                  led by Roscommon County Council.
    (AA) Screening has been carried out and reports
                                                                 An annual progress report will be presented to the
    prepared, in accordance with relevant EU Directives,
                                                                 Economic Development and Enterprise Support SPC
    which have identified no significant environmental
                                                                 of Roscommon County Council and the LCDC. An
    effects of implementing the plan and no foreseen
                                                                 interim review will be undertaken to further monitor
    impact on areas designated as Natura 2000 sites.
                                                                 progress and align strategic objectives and actions
    The LECP was prepared by the Local Authority,                to evolving needs, taking a flexible approach to its
    through the Economic Development and Enterprise              implementation and delivery, for the benefit of all
    Support Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) of                  those who live, work, visit and do business in County
    Roscommon County Council and the Local Community             Roscommon, now and into the future.
    Development Committee (LCDC), following extensive
    research and stakeholder consultation, and adopted

                                                  County Roscommon Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021      3
2016-2021 COUNTY ROSCOMMON - LOCAL ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY PLAN
1   Introduction
    1.1   Context                                            1.2 Purpose of the Local Economic
    Local authorities, nationally, are now recognised as         and Community Plan
    key drivers for stimulating and enabling enterprise      This six-year LECP builds on the Socio-Economic
    and innovation in local regions, as identified in the    Statement for the county adopted by Roscommon
    Local Government Sectoral Strategy to Support            County Council in 2015. It is a mid-level plan that
    Economic Recovery and Jobs (2012) and Putting            sets out the high level goals, objectives and actions
    People First - Action Programme for Effective Local      to promote and support economic and community
    Government (2012).                                       development in County Roscommon over the
    Recent and ongoing alignment processes have              period 2016-2021. It also includes regional actions
    resulted in an expanded role for local authorities       of strategic importance to the county that can be
    beyond their traditional functions, and includes         developed in collaboration with neighbouring regions.
    economic development and promotion “as a                 The LECP will be the framework for the economic
    focal point for local development, in collaboration      and community development of the county for the
    with other agencies.” To fulfil this role, recent        next six years and will affect everyone who lives,
    developments include the integration of the Local        works, does business and visits County Roscommon.
    Enterprise Office (LEO) within local authorities, the    It will also be the primary mechanism, at local level,
    establishment of Local Community Development             to bring forward relevant actions arising under the
    Committees (LCDCs) and the formation of Economic         various relevant regional and national plans and
    Development and Enterprise Support Strategic             strategies such as the National and Regional Action
    Policy Committees (SPCs) in each local authority         Plans for Jobs and the Commission for the Economic
    area.                                                    Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA Report).
    As part of the leadership role assigned to local
    authorities under the Local Government Reform
    Act 2014, Roscommon County Council has the
                                                             1.3 Structures for Development
    primary responsibility for leading economic, social          and Implementation
    and community development in the county. The
    county needs to build a reputation as a proactive        Roscommon County Council is charged with the
    and progressive county and must do this by taking        development and implementation of the LECP,
    responsibility for its own economic and community        which has been undertaken in partnership with
    development. To achieve this aim, the Act provides       other economic and community development
    for the development of a Local Economic and              stakeholders. Overseen by an Advisory Steering
    Community Plan (LECP) by each Local Authority to         Group, the economic element was prepared by the
    cover a six-year period.                                 Local Authority, through the Economic Development
                                                             and Enterprise Support Strategic Policy SPC, whilst
                                                             the community element was prepared by the LCDC.
                                                             Both elements are integrated into this overall LECP
                                                             and adopted by Roscommon County Council.

4   County Roscommon Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021
1 Introduction

Figure 1: Process for development of Roscommon Local Economic & Community Plan

 Stage 1:                       Establish & analyse
                                                             On foot of this evidence, develop       Advicory Steering Group
                                                              a socio-economic statement for        to prepare, SPC & LCDC to
                                the socio-economic
 Preparation                       evidence base
                                                             the county and develop high level        adopt the statement for
                                                               goals for the integrated LECP            public consultation

 Stage 2:                        Undertake a Public
                                                              Revise the Statement & refer to
                                                                                                   Advisory Steering Group to
                              Consultation (4 weeks) on                                           prepare, SPC & LCDC to adopt
                                                                 the Municipal Districts &
 Public Consultation        the soci-economic statement                                             the revised statement for
                                                                   Regional Assemblies
                                  & high level goals                                                submission to MDs & RAs

                             Develop detailed objectives                                            Advisory Steering Group to
 Stage 3:                       for the economic and           Advisory Steering Group to        submit a final draft incorporating
 Develop the                 community elements of the        prepare, SPC & LCDC to agree       the statement & goals, objectives
                             plan underpinned by clear,         to the objectives & actions       and actions for consideration by
 Objectives & Actions
                                 measurable actions                                                       the MDs & RAs

                              SPC & LCDC consider &
 Stage 4:                     adopt final draft (revised         Local Authority to adopt
                                                                                                       Final Plan submitted
                               as necessary following                                                    to the Minister &
 Finalise Plan                                                  the final draft of the LECP
                                consideration by the                                                   published by the LA
                                    MDs & RAs)

 Stage 5:                    Advisory Steering Group to
                            monitor progress on actions
 Monitoring & Review        & against measurable targets
                                 for the objectives

Delivery of the LECP actions will be the role of                   1.4 Monitoring
the relevant public bodies, agencies and other
stakeholders, taking a partnership approach. These                 The LECP will be delivered through a series of
organisations include Roscommon County Council                     Annual Implementation Plans agreed at the start of
itself, along with all of the other local, regional                each year to achieve the targets set out. Monitoring
and national organisations that can play a positive                will be undertaken on a continuous basis by an
and proactive role in economic and community                       advisory committee of local enterprise, innovation
development for the county. These organisations are                and community stakeholders led by Roscommon
identified as part of each action included in this plan.           County Council, with an annual report prepared for
                                                                   the Economic Development and Enterprise Support
Formal systematic evaluation was undertaken
                                                                   Strategic SPC and the LCDC. An interim review will
to determine whether the LECP is likely to have
                                                                   be undertaken to further monitor progress and align
potentially unforeseen significant environmental
                                                                   relevant objectives and actions to evolving needs,
effects, with the overall objective of ensuring the
                                                                   taking a flexible approach.
environmental sustainability of the plan. Strategic
Environmental Assessment (SEA) screening was
undertaken in accordance with EU SEA Directive                     1.5 The Development Process
2001/42/EC. The findings are contained in the
Strategic Environmental Assessment Screening                       This LECP was prepared following an extensive
Report and Determination which accompanies this                    planning process conducted in line with Department
plan. It was also screened for any potential impact                of Environment guidelines (see Figure 1 above), and
on areas designated as Natura 2000 sites under                     complemented by the outputs of parallel consultations
Article 6(3) and 6(4) of the Habitats Directive, the               undertaken for a range of other recent, local and
findings of which are contained in the Appropriate                 regional strategies and plans (e.g. Enterprise and
Assessment Screening Report and Determination.                     Innovation Strategy, Local Development Strategy,
No significant environmental effects or impacts on                 Social Inclusion and Community Activation
Designated Sites were identified or foreseen.                      Programme, County Tourism Strategy, etc.).

                                                    County Roscommon Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021               5
1 Introduction

    The process consisted of consultation with               National / Regional Alignment: Nationally, consideration
    key stakeholders, local businesses, community            is given to the National Spatial Strategy, Smart
    representatives, including the Public Participation      Specialisation Strategy for Ireland, National Action
    Network and the public at large. This has involved       Plan for Jobs, National Action Plan for Social Inclusion,
    consultation sessions, surveys, stakeholder              Healthy Ireland Framework and the CEDRA Report
    meetings, one-to-one interviews, meetings with           along with thematic and sector-specific strategies.
    agencies and focus group sessions.
                                                             Regionally, relevant strategies/reports include
    Over recent months, a comprehensive socio-               the Action Plan for Jobs - West Region, the
    economic evidence base for County Roscommon              Regional Planning Guidelines, Forfás Regional
    has been developed and consideration has also            Competitiveness Reports, along with other regional
    been given to relevant local, regional, national and     strategies. In particular, the Regional Planning
    European policy. This LECP has been developed on         Guidelines for the West Region, 2010-2022; states
    foot of detailed analysis of that evidence and policy    that “By 2022 the West Region will be an innovative and
    alignment.                                               highly competitive region with sustainable settlements
                                                             located in an outstanding environment with excellent
                                                             opportunities and quality of life for its citizens“.
    1.6 Alignment
                                                             Alignment with Local Strategies and Plans: The
    County Roscommon operates within global, national        LECP will be the framework for the economic and
    and regional frameworks. Increasingly, trends            community development of the county and already
    and issues at these levels are as important for the      takes into consideration and complements existing
    economy of Roscommon as local issues. To this end,       local strategies and plans, including the Roscommon
    a review of relevant local, regional, national and       County Development Plan, Roscommon Enterprise
    EU strategies was undertaken to ensure alignment         and Innovation Strategy, Local Development
    of the LECP with these strategies and plans. A full      Strategy, SICAP Programme, County Roscommon
    list of strategies, plans and other relevant reports     Heritage Plan, Roscommon Tourism Strategy,
    and documents consulted are included in the              amongst others.
    Bibliography at the end of this Plan.
                                                             It will contribute to achieving the Strategic Vision,
    International / EU Alignment: At EU level, key           set out in the Roscommon County Development Plan
    overarching strategies include the vision set out in     (CDP) 2014 – 2020, which states that
    Europe 2020 - the European Union’s ten-year jobs
    and growth strategy aimed at creating the conditions     “Roscommon County Council will adopt a
    for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and the      positive and sustainable approach to balanced
    EU Smart Specialisation Strategy (RIS3) to build
                                                             development thereby enhancing the lives
    regional innovation capacity.
                                                             of people who live in, work and visit the
                                                             county, whilst protecting the natural and built
                                                             environment”.

6   County Roscommon Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021
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    County Roscommon is an EU Local
    Administrative Unit comprising three
    municipal districts located in the West
    Region of Ireland (NUTS 3), along with
    the larger counties of Galway and Mayo.
    With a population of 64,065 people (CSO, 2011),            2.1 Evidence Base
    Roscommon accounts for 14% of the population of
    the West Region and 18% of the landmass. In the            A comprehensive socio-economic evidence base for
    national context, Roscommon has 1.4% of the national       the county has been developed to inform this LECP,
    population and 3.6% of the landmass, illustrating its      in partnership with other research projects and
    predominantly rural nature.                                analysis conducted for the development of relevant
                                                               local strategies and plans, including:
                                                               ●●   Roscommon County Development Plan
                                                                    (2014-2020).
                                                               ●●   Roscommon County Council Corporate Plan
                                                                    (2015-2019).
                                                               ●●   Roscommon Enterprise and Innovation
                                                                    Strategy (2015-2020).
                                                               ●●   Roscommon Local Development Strategy
    It is the only inland county in the West region, so             (2015-2020).
    is more centrally located. The geographical centre         ●●   Roscommon Social Inclusion Community
    of Ireland is located in the county and it has a lot            Activation Programme (2015-2017).
    in common with other inland counties such as
    geography, population and economic trends.                 ●●   County Roscommon Tourism Strategy
                                                                    (2016-2020).
    Historically, Roscommon has belonged to the
    lesser developed region of Ireland, as part of the         This LECP has been developed on foot of detailed
    NUTS2 Border Midlands and Western (BMW) region,            analysis of this evidence, summarised in the
    containing 47% of the landmass of Ireland, but just 27%    following pages, and consideration of EU, national,
    of the population and 20% of the GDP, and therefore        regional and local policy alignment.
    prioritised for increased EU structural and cohesion
    funding. However, from 2014 onwards the BMW
    region, and more recently, the reclassified Northern
    and Western Region, is now categorised as a more
    developed region relative to other EU territories.

                                                 County Roscommon Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021   7
2 Socio-Economic Profile – A Summary

    2.2 Geography and Population

                  2,548km2                             Centrality                  300,000
        Size of county, 9th largest             Contains geographic          Number of people
                in the state                     centre of Ireland          within a 60km radius

    Roscommon is a land of lakes, rivers, gently rolling hills and picturesque mountains.
    It is the 9th largest county in the State and enjoys a relatively central location with a
    significant regional population, in excess of 300,000, residing within a 60km radius.
    The county is served by the M6 East-West
    Motorway to the south and the N4 and N5 Primary
    Routes to the north. The N60, N61 and N63 are also
    important arterial roads linking the county to major
    regional urban centres. Three rail lines traverse
    the county giving further east-west connectivity,
    whilst Ireland West Knock Airport is located in
    nearby County Mayo.
    The population has grown steadily in recent years,
    increasing by 25% in the period 1996-2011, largely
    as a result of net inward migration. Despite this
    growth, the current population of 64,065 (Census
    2011) gives a population density of just 25 persons
    per square km, the third lowest in the state, behind
    neighbours Leitrim (20 per sq km) and Mayo (23
    per sq km).
    Despite this overall population growth, the county
    suffers from an underlying trend of out-migration,
    especially amongst the younger working age
    group, leading to a classic ‘brain-drain” scenario.
    Roscommon has the third highest level of out-
    migration of its population to other counties, at
    35.5% (after neighbours Leitrim and Westmeath),
    compared to the state average of 24.8%. In recent
    times this has been particularly evident amongst the
    younger adult population (18-39 years), generally in
    search of education and work opportunities.

                    +25%                           35.5%                   Brain Drain
      Increase in population (1996-             Level of out-migration     Largest out-migration is
        2011), to 64,065 persons              - 3rd highest in the state    amongst young people

8   County Roscommon Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021
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2.3 Settlement Patterns

            25per sq km                             74% Rural                                 +10.6%

    Number of people living in the            Proportion of population            Population growth in main
    county - 3rd lowest population           living in rural areas – still               urban areas
               density                       the 3rd most rural county

The county is characterised by numerous rural
towns and village settlements. In line with global
trends, significant population growth is evident
in the main urban areas, increasing by 10.6% in
the period 2006-2011.
The highest growth rates were recorded in the main urban
hinterlands of Monksland (Athlone West Rural +53%),
Roscommon Town Rural (+19.5%), and Boyle Environs (+22%).
The largest settlements, which also serve their hinterlands are as follows:
Table 1: Settlements (>750 persons) Enumerated in Roscommon, Census 2011

 Roscommon             5,693     Boyle Town & Env.                  2,588     Ballaghaderreen             1,822

 Monksland             3,826     Castlerea                          1,985     Strokestown                   814

Despite this, Roscommon remains the third most              some of whom have been very successful, nationally
rural county in Ireland, behind neighbouring counties       and internationally, in various economic and other
Leitrim and Galway, with 74% of the population still        fields of activity. This diaspora may be utilised in a
living in rural areas. Similar to many parts of rural       positive manner for the county, if it can be harnessed
Ireland, small towns and villages in the county have        appropriately.
suffered decline, including generally higher levels
                                                            Despite the level of out-migration, the county has
of unemployment, reduction in services and out-
                                                            attracted non-Irish nationals to settle there, which
migration of younger people.
                                                            now comprise 10.8% of the local population. Whilst
It is noted, however, that the high levels of out-          this is less than the national average, it still amounts
migration provides the county with a large diaspora,        to a significant proportion of the local population.

                   +53%                            -8.8%                                       10.8%
  Growth in Athlone West Rural DED           Fall in population in Boyle            Proportion of the local
  - highest population growth rate in        Urban DED, (140 persons)              population comprised of
              the county                       due to out-migration                  non-Irish nationals

                                             County Roscommon Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021       9
2 Socio-Economic Profile – A Summary

     2.4 Education, Skills and Graduate Retention

                       59%                              13%                                           20%
          Proportion of 17-19 year        Proportion of Roscommon graduates            Graduates as a proportion of
          olds accessing third level       receiving first job here. 2nd lowest        working population – lowest
                  education                        retention in Ireland                         in Ireland

     There is a direct link between a good standard of education and access to good
     quality employment.
     In County Roscommon, the standard of education                    opportunities. This can result in out-migration
     across the population is improving, with 57% having               of the skilled labour force in search of better
     attained secondary level education, whilst 25% have               job prospects. This is particularly true in
     completed third level. More recently, the county has              County Roscommon, in relation to the out-
     performed very well, with a consistently high number              migration of the graduate population.
     of students proceeding to third level education – at         ●●   There is good skills availability in agri/
     approx. 59% of the 17-19 age group annually. This is              veterinary, engineering and manufacturing,
     amongst the highest nationally.                                   but significant skills gaps exist in ICT, science,
     Whilst this is a positive trend, there are some                   technical skills and languages, which are
     significant challenges in retaining a well-educated               important in terms of current needs identified
     and appropriately qualified workforce in the county,              in Forfás and WDC future skills reports.
     including:                                                   ●●   At present, there are a variety of education,
     ●●    Very low levels of graduate employment/                     training, upskilling, reskilling and workplace
           retention in the county, classified amongst the             programmes that may be applied in
           lowest in the country according to the HEA.                 Roscommon if promoted and targeted
                                                                       appropriately, including Springboard,
     ●●    According to the OECD Employment Skills
                                                                       Momentum, SkillNets, JobBridge and
           Report (2011), in general, the West Region of
                                                                       JobsPlus, that can assist in priming the
           Ireland has a skills surplus to some degree,
                                                                       workforce for current/future skills needs.
           with available skills not matched with local job

                           Skills Availability                                    Skills Gaps
            Skills availability in agri/veterinary, engineering        Skills gaps in ICT, Science, technical skills
                             and manufacturing                                        and languages

10   County Roscommon Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021
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2.5 Labour Force and Employment

                  30,326                                      10.6%                                   35%
     Size of labour force - 60%                         Unemployment rate                    Proportion who travel outside
          participation rate                        (Jan 2016) 20% higher than               the county to their workplace
                                                           State figures

Since the downturn, which led to business closures, rationalisation across many
sectors and higher unemployment levels, the employment scenario has evolved in
the county, as illustrated in the following snapshot (Census 2011)
Figure 2: Employment by Sector, County Roscommon Residents (Source: CSO, 2011 Census data)

           Employment Sector                                                     Number Employed

                Wholesale & Retail Trade                                                                               3618
                            Manufacturing                                                              2863
            Human Health & Social Work                                                              2687
          Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing                                                       2405
        Public Administration & Defence                                                        2322
                                Education                                                    2187
                                     Other                                     1583
                              Construction                                  1343
        Accommodation & Food Services                                    1168
      Professional, Scientific & Technical                        863
                     Transport & Storage                          853
      Administrative & Support Services                          778
         Financial & Insurance Activities                      654
          Information & Communications                   433
        Arts, Entertainment & Recreation               279
                                   Utilities           257
                               Real Estate         7
                                               0        500       1000        1500    2000     2500    3000     3500      4000

This data, coupled, with other relevant employment statistics, reveals the following:

●●   There are substantially more people working                              evidence of some growth in specific sectors
     in retail, traditional manufacturing and public                          (medtech, pharma etc.).
     sectors in the county than the average across                       ●●   Construction has fallen substantially, which
     the state.                                                               has worsened since 2011 (-61%).
●●   Roscommon has a higher proportion involved                          ●●   Employment in traditional industry has also
     in farming and primary food sector.                                      fallen.
●●   The county is weak in new growth areas, e.g.                        ●●   One third of the workforce now travels outside
     ICT, Professional, Scientific etc., but there is                         the county to their place of work.

                     10%                                Jobs Lost                                      New Jobs
     Proportion still involved in                  in traditional sectors, including          in growth sectors, including
         local agri. sector                          retail, construction and food                medtech and pharma

                                                       County Roscommon Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021       11
2 Socio-Economic Profile – A Summary

     2.6 Size and Scale of Enterprise Sector

               2,097                                           -24%                                               19,000
       No of active enterprises, down                  Fall in overseas tourism                   Estimated tourism boost from
          22% from its 2006 peak                       numbers from 2011 peak                           domestic visitors

     The number of active enterprises (excluding the farming sector) in the county has
     fallen by 22%, from a peak of 2,686 in 2006 to 2,097 enterprises in 2012 (CSO, 2012).
     A breakdown of the number of enterprises across the main business sectors in County Roscommon, and
     changes in recent times, is detailed in the illustration below.
     Figure 3: No. of Enterprises in each Sector, County Roscommon, 2006 – 2011; (Source: CSO data)

               Employment Sector                                                Number of Enterprises

                                                                                                                                  1018
                                 Construction
                                                                                                613
                                                                                             587
                    Wholesale & Retail Trade
                                                                                            561
                                                                      249
            Accommodation & Food Services
                                                                     239
          Professional, Scientific & Technical                    197
                                                                   205                                        2006
                                     Industry                    182
                                                               160                                                2011
           Administrative & Support Services                  145
                                                             130
                         Transport & Storage                  140
                                                             125
                                  Real Estate           86
                                                        81
              Information & Communications            43
                                                      46
             Financial & Insurance Activities        29

                                                 0     100     200    300      400    500   600       700   800      900   1000     1100

     Roscommon experienced a decline in enterprise                          and “ICT”, both knowledge intensive sectors, which
     numbers in almost every sector between 2006                            is a positive development. Despite the low baseline in
     and 2011, with construction particularly hard-hit.                     these sectors locally, global growth trends provides
     The tourism sector/ tourism numbers have also                          optimism for further growth of these industries in
     fallen locally. Two sectors recorded increases –                       the county.
     “Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities”

                -61%                                                  +5%                                    275 Jobs
        Fall in construction industry                Recent growth in knowledge/                  No. of new jobs announced in
              sector since 2006                      technology sectors in county                      lifescience sectors
                                                                                                           (2014-2015)

12   County Roscommon Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021
2 Socio-Economic Profile – A Summary

             15%                                 93.6%                                14.1%
     15% less entrepreneurship          % of businesses that are micro-        Commercial Vacancy Rate –
       than national average            enterprises- highest in Ireland        one of the highest in Ireland

The recent downturn has highlighted some                   ●●   Relatively small proportion of companies
weaknesses in the enterprise environment in the                 competing in export markets, comprising
county, characterised by the following features,                just 7% of enterprise employment (1,788
providing significant scope for improvement:                    employees).
●●    Low levels of entrepreneurship compared to           ●●   High vacancy rate amongst commercial
      most other counties, 15% lower than the state             properties, much of it clustered in some
      average, and similar to other neighbouring                towns/business parks, due to recent closures,
      midland counties.                                         coupled with overdevelopment prior to the
●●    Relatively low levels of agency-assisted                  downturn. According to GeoDirectory, the
      employment in enterprise as a consequence of              county has a commercial vacancy rate of
      the above, and also reflecting low levels of FDI          14.1% in Q2 2015, up from 13.6% in Q3, 2014.
      in the county.                                            Roscommon town, the largest urban area, has
                                                                a vacancy rate of 21.6% .
●●    Enterprise sector dominated by micro-
      enterprises; the highest proportion in Ireland,      ●●   Emerging pockets of knowledge-based
      serving mostly local markets.                             industry, including pharma and medtech
                                                                companies, which have seen enterprise and
●●    High dependency on traditional sectors with               employment growth, including FDI.
      low growth potential.
                                                           ●●   Higher levels of knowledge enterprises in
●●    Underperformance of the tourism sector,                   neighbouring regions, including med-tech/
      Ireland’s largest indigenous industry, which              pharma and ICT clusters with potential for
      has fallen recently in the county, despite                spill-over into County Roscommon.
      national growth trends.

               0                                  2,360                                 7%
     No. of Seed/Venture Capital          Number of Agency assisted             Proportion of employment
      investments in the county          employees in the county – 2nd           in exporting companies,
             since 2007                        lowest nationally               reflecting less FDI and low-
                                                                                    growth enterprise

                                             County Roscommon Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021   13
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     2.7 Enterprise and Innovation Enablers

                            4                                  0                                     0
          Number of general community              Number of fibre-enabled                     Number of specialist
            enterprise centres in the          enterprise centres/ incubators in             incubators in the county
          county, with approx. 18 units                   the county                       targeted at specific sectors

     Over the years, the enterprise environment has been hindered by a lack of
     investment in enterprise and innovation enablers that are anchored in the county,
     compared to other regions.
     The current scenario is summarised as follows:                         attract new growth sectors.
     ●●     Some community enterprise centres, with                    ●●   Relatively low access to fibre broadband
            available incubation space, mainly providing                    connectivity, with main access via the MAN’s
            traditional units:                                              in Roscommon town and Monksland area.
            ✛✛   Roscommon Enterprise Centre - 9 units.                ●●   No third level institution/research centre
            ✛✛   Boyle Enterprise Centre - small office-                    located in the county, but opportunities to
                 based units.                                               harness access to third level/research centres
                                                                            in nearby regions.
            ✛✛   Arigna Enterprise Centre - small rural
                 units.                                                ●●   Need to foster greater access to various
                                                                            sources of investment finance both to develop
            ✛✛   Enterprise Killtullagh - small rural units.                enabling infrastructure as well as to invest in
            ✛✛   The Shambles, Ballaghaderreen - mostly                     growth enterprise.
                 community space.                                      ●●   Opportunities to foster growth in emerging
            ✛✛   The Hub Castlerea - mostly community                       knowledge sectors, if appropriate enablers are
                 space.                                                     in place.
     ●●     Limited modern serviced space to foster new                ●●   Opportunities to support traditional sectors
            enterprises with growth potential.                              through focused resources to foster business
     ●●     No specialist enterprise/innovation                             and employment, including collaborative
            infrastructure in the county, especially to                     approaches with neighbouring regions.

                     0                                             6                           Med-Tech/Pharma

              Number of third level           Third level campuses/research            Main industry clusters in county
          institutions/research centres       centres in adjoining counties =            with growing presence and
                   in the county               potential to leverage support                employment potential

14   County Roscommon Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021
2 Socio-Economic Profile – A Summary

2.8 Community Infrastructure and Services

                  285                           Gaps                                         17
  Number of community, sports          Lack of adequate community           Number of active age groups
    and recreational facilities          facilities in some areas               across the county
       across the county

Roscommon generally enjoys a good sense of community, with active volunteerism
leading to relatively vibrant community life across the county.
This has led to the development of a wide variety of     County Roscommon also achieves consistently
community-led facilities, including community halls/     strong success in National Tidy Towns Awards and
centres, sports and recreational facilities, as well     similar competitions. Notable accomplishments in
as active community groups and ‘special-interest’        these competitions include Keadue (National Winner
organisations. Collectively, the county boasts the       1993 & 2003, Best Kept town 2004), Castlecoote
following:                                               (Best Kept Town 2012) and Cloontuskert (Highly
                                                         Commended 2009 & 2013) and consistently high
●● 285 community halls. sports and recreational
                                                         scoring in the IBAL litter league for Roscommon
   facilities.
                                                         town (3rd, 2015)
●● 11 staff-led and approx. 40 volunteer-led youth
   services.                                             However, despite this success, there is no volunteer
                                                         centre in Roscommon and the growing issue of
●● 51 Community/Private Childcare facilities.            attracting new volunteers needs to be addressed.
●● 17 active age groups, with 381 members.
                                                         Additionally, some existing community facilities
●● ‘Mens Shed’ initiatives becoming more active.         are in need of upgrading, whilst some areas are
●● 3,033 people in the county identify themselves        underserved with community infrastructure and
   as Carers (CSO, 2011).                                services.
●● Successful Social Car Initiative in the county.       Of note, new Town Teams and the Public Participation
                                                         Network are now in place which can provide further
●● Roscommon Womens Network (RWN) and
                                                         impetus for community development in local areas.
   Roscommon Women in Business Network
   (ROSWIN) in place.

                   51                           Tidy County                               3,033
     Number of youth clubs/          Notable success in National Tidy           Number of ‘Carers’ in
    services across the county        Towns and IBAL litter league               County Roscommon

                                           County Roscommon Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021   15
2 Socio-Economic Profile – A Summary

                   Lifespan                         22.9%                                55.9%
       At 75.2 years (Male) and 82.2          Old Age Dependency in                Total Age Dependency in
         years (Female), people in         Roscommon, one of the highest          Roscommon, also one of the
          Roscommon live longer                     in Ireland                         highest in Ireland

     Whilst enjoying a good sense of community, there         ●● There are 396 Travellers living in the county
     are a number of factors and trends that need to be          (2011) – 0.61% of the population, with a relatively
     considered when planning to maintain and enhance            young profile - 42% are under 15 years old.
     the community fabric and quality of life, including
                                                              ●● 6,897 people are non-Irish, some of which may
     some particular issues identified in the county:
                                                                 need specific supports.
     ●● Statistically, people from County Roscommon
                                                              ●● 34% of households in County Roscommon had
        live longer than any other county. Coupled
                                                                 no internet access (CSO, 2011), whilst 7,468
        with national ageing trends, this results in an
                                                                 households in the county did not have a PC at
        increasingly older population. Almost 15% of the
                                                                 that time.
        population (9,396) is >65 years of age, giving
        an old age dependency rate of 22.9% - one of          ●● 2,950 households are without a car (2011),
        the highest in the country. Therefore, there is a        whilst the county is served by a limited
        need to develop and promote the county as an             public transport service which can be poorly
        age-friendly location.                                   integrated.

     ●● The county also has a high youth dependency           ●● There are high Deprivation Index scores in
        rate of 33.1%, resulting in a need to support            parts of Ballaghaderreen and Boyle, and other
        youth development through enhanced facilities            areas in North and West Roscommon.
        and services.                                         ●● Mental health issues are of concern, often
     ●● 13.7% of the population (8,759 persons) have a           intensified by loneliness and rural isolation, with
        disability, amongst which 25% of those aged              6,257 one person households in the county.
        65+yrs and 53% of those aged 75+yrs have a            ●● Similar to national trends, health and general
        disability.                                              fitness are also concerns for the county that
                                                                 need to be addressed.

                     16,775                          34%                                 2,950
       Number of young people (0-18        % of households without Internet      Number of households without
         years) requiring facilities       access (2011) highest in Ireland              a car (2011)

16   County Roscommon Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021
2 Socio-Economic Profile – A Summary

2.9 Natural, Environmental, Cultural and Heritage Resources

                140km                              200,000                           World Status
  Shoreline along river Shannon,     Number of visitors to Lough Key         Seek to have Rathcroghan
    the longest of any county        Forest and Activity Park (2015)          Royal Site designated as
                                                                            UNESCO World Heritage Site

As a largely rural county, Roscommon possesses a rich heritage and a range of
natural, cultural and environmental resources that can be appreciated, developed and
promoted for economic and community benefit.

Natural and Environmental Resources
Natural resources include agriculture lands,             Of note, from a development perspective, Lough
forestry and parklands with bio-diversity and            Key Forest and Activity Park, attracted an estimated
recreational potential. Making space for nature          200,000 visitors in 2015, reflecting the increased
and wildlife in the countryside and urban areas          interest in outdoor recreation and appreciation
has huge socio-economic and environmental                of nature and the environment. Roscommon also
benefits by making towns and villages nicer              boasts access to rivers, lakes and scenic areas,
places to live, work and do business, ensuring           including the longest shoreline of the river
healthy agricultural, forestry and environmental         Shannon, with much untapped potential.
ecosystems, improving health and well-being, and
                                                         Forestry: In Roscommon, there are 22,700
protecting the integrity of the natural environment.
                                                         hectares of land under forestry (9.1% land cover).
There is a huge variety of wildlife habitats in          Including public (Coillte-8,000hectares), and
Roscommon with some of the most important                private holdings (14,000 ha). At present, there are
sites designated for nature conservation. Habitats       over 1,000 private forest owners in Roscommon,
of particular interest include bogland (one third        mostly farmers, with an increase in the private
of the land is classified as bogland), turloughs,        forest planting in recent years.
eskers, callows, woodland, lakes and rivers. There
                                                         This sector is identified by the IFA during the
are also many species of rare plants and animals
                                                         consultation process, as having potential for
found in Roscommon. Along with the protected
                                                         growth amongst the farming community. This
sites there are many other locations for nature
                                                         provides potential for commercial development
and wildlife in the county, which are appreciated
                                                         and productive use if efficient supply chain
and developed through public parks, forest walks
                                                         arrangements can be put in place.
and other amenities, including Lough Key Forest
and Activity Park, Mote Park, Suck Valley Way
walking routes and other areas.

             22,700ha                                  1/                              Genealogy
                                                         3
    Forestry in Roscommon,             One third of land is classified     Genealogy Centre and National
    (9.1%), with commercial/          as bogland, with bio-diversity/         General Registry Office
        amenity potential.                   amenity potential                 located in the county

                                           County Roscommon Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021   17
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     Culture and Heritage
     County Roscommon boasts a rich culture and                Important Historical Events in Ireland’s more recent
     heritage. Highlights include:                             history, including the Great Famine, portrayed
                                                               through the National Famine Museum at Strokestown
     Contemporary & Traditional Arts: Roscommon has a
                                                               Park House.
     rich heritage in the arts including visual arts, music,
     song, dance and storytelling, literature and theatre      Festivals and Events: Annual festivals are a
     dating from Turlough O’Carolan in the 18th century        regular feature across the county. Larger and more
     to present day native artists.                            established festivals that celebrate local culture and
                                                               heritage include Roscommon Lamb Festival, Boyle
     Archaeological sites of international importance
                                                               Arts Festival, Douglas Hyde Conference, O’Carolan
     ranging from a Celtic Royal Site to the many
                                                               Harp Festival and Percy French Summer School as
     ringforts located in the county. The Rathcroghan
                                                               well as local festivals and events.
     Site at Tulsk, identified as the traditional capital of
     the region of Connachta, is strongly associated with      Other features of towns and villages including
     Irish mythology and is regarded as one of the oldest      ‘everyday’ features such as timber nameplates on
     and largest unexcavated Royal Sites in Europe.            shopfronts, traditional water pumps and limestone
                                                               kerbstones, as well as a rich heritage of historic
     Historical buildings, rich in classical architecture
                                                               graveyards and medieval church ruins, mostly cared
     and associated with the region’s heritage, including
                                                               for by local voluntary committees, TÚS, RSS and CE
     King House, Clonalis House, Strokestown Park
                                                               Schemes.
     House, Castlecoote House, Roscommon Castle and
     Boyle Abbey.                                              Genealogy: With a large diaspora, genealogy is
                                                               an important feature of local heritage. County
     Renowned People from the county, ranging from
                                                               Roscommon Heritage and Genealogy Centre is
     Ireland’s first President - Dr. Douglas Hyde; to
                                                               located in Strokestown, whilst the National General
     leading actor Chris O’Dowd, with “Moone Boy”
                                                               Register Office for births, deaths and marriages is
     series set in Boyle.
                                                               located in Roscommon town.
     Industrial Heritage including quarrying/mining,
     captured through Arigna Mining Experience
     and Museum; and farming/agriculture, with folk
     museums and visitor farms located in the county

18   County Roscommon Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021
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