South-East Region, Ireland

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The South-East region of Ireland with each constituent county highlighted.

The South-East Region (coded IE052)[1] is a NUTS Level III statistical region of Ireland. It consists of the territory of Waterford City, the regional capital, as well as the counties of Waterford, Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford.[2] The South-East region spans 7,198 km2, 10.2% of the total area of the state and according to the 2016 census had a population of 422,062.

Prior to 2014, the region was governed by the South-East Regional Assembly. Statutory instrument No. 573/2014 abolished that assembly.[3][4] Since that date, the association between Regional Assemblies and NUTS regions has ceased. The NUTS regions are used for statistical reporting to Eurostat, while the Regional Assemblies are responsible for planning at a local government level.

Regional Authority[edit]

Former Regional Authority[edit]

The South-East region, 2003-2018.

The South-East region was administered by the South-East Regional Authority, which consisted of 36 elected representatives including the region's representative on the EU Committee of the Regions. These representatives met once a month and were nominated from the five local government councils of the region:[2]

The Regional Authorities were dissolved in 2014 and were replaced by Regional Assemblies.[5]

Current Regional Authority[edit]

A number of local authority changes were made by the Irish government in June 2014, however these were not reflected in the NUTS 3 statistical units until June 2018, when appropriate updates were made following the implementation of Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/2066. North Tipperary County Council and South Tipperary County Council were unified into a single local authority for the county in 2014, however Tipperary remained divided between two NUTS 3 regions for statistical purposes. In June 2018 Tipperary was transferred in its entirety to the Mid-West Region.

Additionally, Waterford City Council was merged with Waterford County Council in 2014, however this too was not reflected at NUTS 3 level until 2018. Therefore the number of local authorities in the South-East Region has been reduced from 6 to 4. Prior to the change, South Tipperary comprised 23.8% of the South-East's land area and 19.1% of its population, making it the region's second largest county by area, and second smallest county by population.

The local authorities in the South-East Region are as follows:

Since the 2014 reforms, NUTS Level III regions have had no administrative role. The elected representatives of these councils instead convene at the Southern Regional Assembly for planning and local government purposes.


According to the 2006 census, the region had a population of 460,838, which constitutes 11.0% of the national population. Its population density was 49 persons per km2. The population of the regional capital, Waterford, was 49,213.[2]

The main urban centres within the region each exceed 17,000 in terms of population with an evenly distributed network of second and third-tier towns.[2] This is also supplemented by a strong rural settlement initiative.[2]


The 2016 unemployment rate for the region is the highest in Ireland at 9.4%.[6]

Regional GDP in 2004 was given as €11,695m, with GDP per capita forming 81.6% of the state. Its GDP per capita was 115.4% of EU25.[2] The workforce of the region in 2006 was 219,759, which equated to a 95.22% employment rate in 2007.[2]

The economy of the South-East region is primarily based on several key sectors, ranging from agriculture, to manufacturing, to services and tourism.[2] A high proportion of the regions manufacturing sector is foreign-owned. It is also an attractive area for investment due to it Industry and Technology parks a highly educated labour force bolstered by three Third Level Education Institutes.[2]

The economy is also strengthened by its good quality transport and economic infrastructure. For this prime reason the Limerick–Rosslare railway line ought have more trains and be fully reopened from Waterford railway station to Rosslare Europort and onto Wexford railway station. Tourism in the region is aided by its rich natural, historic and archaeological sites, which attract over 2 million people annually.[2]

Major settlements[edit]

A list of the ten largest settlements in the South-East region. County capitals are included and are shown in bold.

Urban Centres
Rank Urban Centres County Population
(2016 census)
1 Waterford City Waterford 53,504
2 Kilkenny Kilkenny 26,512
3 Carlow Carlow 24,272
4 Wexford Wexford 20,188
5 Enniscorthy Wexford 11,381
6 Tramore Waterford 10,381
7 Gorey Wexford 10,366
8 Dungarvan Waterford 9,227
9 New Ross Wexford 8,040
10 Tullow Carlow 4,673

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Revision to the Irish NUTS2 and NUTS3 regions".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Irish Region Office - Regions of Ireland: South-East Region Archived 2011-07-19 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^
  4. ^ Statutory Instrument 573/2014
  5. ^
  6. ^