Midlands set to be one of the worst-hit regions by Covid-19 economically

Laois may escape the worst

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

coronavirus covid-19

Business to pay a heavy price from the pandemic

The Midlands will fare a lot worse economically than most parts of the country, according to a new analysis of its impact on the regions of Ireland.

While Laois will not be the worst impacted county in the region, the new research has found itself and Midlands counties of Offaly, Longford and Westmeath will be hit the worst-hit compared to other parts of the East Midlands Region.

The findings emerged after three Regional Assemblies of Ireland decided to prepare a “Covid-19 Regional Economic Analysis” to identify which geographical areas in Ireland are more likely to be exposed to the economic disruption caused by the necessary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The study found that of the three regions of Ireland, the Eastern and Midland region was the least exposed with 43.6% of its commercial units operating in the sectors likely to be worst affected.

However, when separated from the East, the Midlands is the second most exposed part of the country with 5,071 businesses operating in sectors likely to be worst affected.

The Northern and Western region is the most exposed region with 48.6%, followed by the Southern region with 47.2%.

It found that in absolute terms, the Eastern and Midland region had the highest number of commercial units operating in the sectors likely to be worst affected at 29,637 units.

“Within the region itself, the Midlands is likely to be the worst exposed to the economic disruption caused by COVID-19, with 48.9% of its firms operating within the sectors likely to be worst affected, while Dublin was the least exposed with a corresponding ratio of 39.4%."

According to the report, coastal and rural counties are more likely to be exposed to significant disruption from the outbreak as their reliance on commercial units generally require human interaction, while their ability to operate online is limited.

In terms of the Eastern and Midland region, the county that is likely to be most exposed is Westmeath, with 51% of its commercial units operating in the sectors likely to be worst affected, followed by Meath at 50.3%, Longford at 50.0%, Louth at 48.4%, Offaly at 47.8%.

Laois is the least exposed of the midland counties at 46.3% with 1,127 busineses operating in the most exposed sectors.

Dublin has the highest number of commercial units operating in the sectors likely to be worst affected, at 14,360 units.

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