Laois job shortage proved by daily exodus of thousands of work commuters

Portarlington worst hit by commuting as more than 1,700 leave the border town each day for work

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

Laois job shortage proved by daily exodous of thousands of work commuters

Census 2016 Commuting in Ireland

New evidence of the acute job shortage in Laois is revealed in the daily exodus of nearly 11,500 people out of the county for work with Portarlington the worst affected.

Census 2016 figures published by the Central Statistics Office reveal that there were 14,489 Laois residents working in the county, while 4,016 people commuted into the county for work.

However, a further 11,477 people commuted to work outside Laois, giving what the CSO says is a "net loss" of 7,461 in the working population.

Portarlington and its hinterland has the highest number of outward commuters. More than 1,700 people who live on the Laois side of the border town and surrounding area, including Killenard, leave the town for work. Just over 600 commute into the town for work. On the Offaly side 572 leave for work while 299 commute to jobs in the area.

Portarlington was one of the fastest growing towns in Ireland at Census 2011. There has been no major employer in the town since Avon Arlington cosmetics in 1999 when 400 jobs were cut. Portarlington lost some 1,000 jobs in a decade-and-a-half before that.

The opposite is the case in Portlaoise. Nearly 800 residents of the county town commute elsewhere to work while almost 3,400 travel into the town.

In Mountmellick, it is almost 50/50 with 579 people commuting out and 589 commuting in for work.

On top of having to leave Laois to find work other CSO figure show that most workers and commuters are likely to be stuck in traffic at some point on the way to and from their jobs.

Nearly three quarters of people in Laois travelled to work by car which is nearly 10% above the national average according to the latest results from Census 2016.

The Central Statistics Office has published figures for Commuting in Ireland. It found that the vast majority of working commuters in Laois travel by car.
In April 2016, 22,731 working commuters in County Laois (72.7%) travelled to work by car, compared to 65.6% of commuters nationally. 

While 9.3% of working commuters nationally used public transport, just 4.3% of those in Laois did so. This is despite the presence of three train stations and bus routes in the town.

While 6.0% walked to work just 0.8% cycled.

Commuting times rose in every county and the national average commuting time in April 2016 was 28.2 minutes, up from 26.6 minutes in 2011.

Commuters in Laois had an average travel time of 31.9 minutes, compared to 30.4 minutes in 2011. Over 1 in 4 working commuters in Laois (25.6%) were travelling for less than 15 minutes, compared to 27.0% in Census 2011.

Nationally, 22.9% of commuters had a commute of under 15 minutes. In April 2016, 17.8% of commuters in the county spent an hour or more travelling compared to 15.7% in 2011, while 6.7% had a commute of over 90 minutes, as against 5.9% five years previously.

There were 14,489 Laois residents working in the county, while 4,016 people commuted into the county for work. A further 11,477 people commuted to work outside the county, giving a net loss of 7,461 in the working population.

Among primary school children, 68.3% travelled to school by car, while 14.71% (1,703) walked. The percentage travelling by bus fell to 11.3% from 11.7% in 2011, while 0.7% of students cycled to school.

The number of secondary school children walking to school increased by 118 to 1,116, accounting for 16.3% of secondary students, while 47.9% went to school by car, compared to 44.2% in 2011. Just over three in 10 (30.6%) travelled by bus, while 1.0% cycled to school.

Nationally, the report shows that in April 2016, when the Census was taken, the number of people travelling to work, school or college stood at 2,962,550, an increase of 9.3% on the 2011 figure.

There were 1,875,773 people commuting to work in April 2016, an increase of 10.7% on 2011. There were large increases in bus and train use (up 22% and 19.7% respectively), while the number cycling to work rose by 43% on 2011.

Commenting, Deirdre Cullen, Senior Statistician said: “This report presents detailed statistics on and analysis of the commuting patterns of workers and students in April 2016.

"It examines how we travel to work, school and college; the times we leave to get there and the length of time we spend commuting. It is particularly timely as we move into Autumn and the return of students to schools and colleges across the country,” she said.