Midlands Region, Ireland
The Midlands Region is a NUTS Level III region of Ireland and is governed by the Midland Regional Authority. It consists of the area under the jurisdiction of the county councils of Laois, Longford, Offaly, and Westmeath. The Midlands region spans 6,524 km2, 9.5% of the total area of the state and according to the 2011 census has a population of 282,195. The regional capital in Athlone. Its NUTS code is IE012.
The Midlands Region is also a popular tourist destination due to its rich natural beauty such as lakes, waterways and canals, as well as a rich history, heritage and culture dating from early Christian times.
Midland Regional Authority
The Midlands region is administered by the Midland Regional Authority, which consists of 24 elected representatives including the region's representative on the EU Committee of the Regions. These representatives meet once a month and are nominated from the four local government councils of the region:
Like each Regional Authority, the Midland Regional Authority is assisted in its duties by an Operational Committee and EU Operational Committee.
According to the 2011 census, the region had a population of 282,410, which constitutes 15.8% of the national population. Its population density was 43.3 persons per km2. The population of the regional capital, Athlone is over 20,000.
The most significant industry in the Midlands region is the peat industry, as well as wood processing. Its wood processing industry now accounts for over one-third of the total processed timber produced in Ireland. Other strong industries include medicine, healthcare, engineering and chemical. It also has some very successful food and drink producers.
Regional GDP in 2002 was given as €4,184m, with GDP per capita forming 63.2% of the state. Its GDP per capita was 84.1% of EU25.
The workforce of the region in 2003 was 98,400, which equated to a 94.8% employment rate with services (59.8%), industrial employment (30.4%), and agriculture (10.0%) forming the key industries. Employment growth is concentrating in the larger urban centers of the region.
A list of the ten largest settlements in the Midlands region. County capitals are included and are shown in bold.