South-West Region, Ireland
The South-West Region is a NUTS Level III region of Ireland and is governed by the South-West Regional Authority. It consists of the area under the jurisdiction of the county councils of counties Cork and Kerry, along with Cork City Council. The South-West region spans 12,161 km2, roughly 16% of the total area of the state and according to the 2006 census has a population of 621,130. The regional capital is Cork City. Its NUTS code is IE025.
The South-West Region benefits from a mild climate and has a very scenic environment, which includes features such as Macgillycuddy's Reeks (the highest mountain range in Ireland), the Dingle Peninsula, Mizen Head and the Iveragh Peninsula along with numerous small islands.
South-West Regional Authority
The South-West Regional Authority 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 three administrative councils of the region:
The Authority has responsibility for strategic planning and the promotion of the coordinated delivery of public services in the region. Like each Regional Authority, the South-West Regional Authority is assisted in its duties by an Operational Committee and EU Operational Committee. The authority employs a staff of four.
The South-West region has experienced a steady increase in its population with migration to the region due to its strong educational infrastructure, scenic beauty, mild climate, as well as its quality of life and work.
According to the 2006 census, the South-West region had a population of 621,130, which constitutes 14.65% of the national population. Its population density was 51.08 persons per km2. The population of the regional capital, Cork City, including its suburbs was 190,384.
The region's economy consists of a range of multi-national companies that specialise in areas such as electronics and pharmaceuticals. The food industry also forms an important sector in the regional economy. Tourism is also a major industry in the region.
The workforce of the region in 2003 was 255,800, which equated to a 95.58% employment rate with services (59.9%), industrial employment (31.2%), and agriculture (8.9%) forming the key industries.
The South-West region contains two airports, Cork International Airport and Kerry International Airport, both of which provide a wide range of flights to locations across Europe. The region also has ferry services operating between Cork, the United Kingdom and France.
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Ireland's southernmost and westernmost points are located in the Southwest. Including islands Tearaght Island is the westernmost point located 12.5 km west of the Dingle Peninsula in Kerry. The southernmost point is Fastnet Rock which lies 11.3 km south of mainland County Cork. Only including mainland Ireland, Brow Head, County Cork is the southernmost point and Dunmore Head, County Kerry is the westernmost point. Ireland's twelve highest mountains are located in County Kerry. Killarney National Park in Kerry has Ireland's only native herd of Red Deer and the most extensive covering of native forest remaining in Ireland. The southwest has a total of 132,274 hectares (326,856 acres) of Forest and woodland area, larger than six different Irish counties. The area of the Southwest is 12,203 km2, roughly 14.5% of Ireland's land area which is large enough to fit the 10 smallest counties inside it and almost as large as Northern Ireland. The combined coastline of Cork and Kerry is 1,778 km including islands.
A list of the ten largest settlements in the southwest County capitals are included and are shown in bold.