An important new online interactive tool which examines the socio-economic performance of Ireland’s Gateways and Hubs cities and towns is now available. The interactive tool tells the story at an easy glance as to how the Cities and Towns designated as Gateways and Hubs under the National Spatial Strategy are performing in terms of economic and social development. The dashboard or interactive tool is available on the Regional Assemblies websites and

The Index has been enhanced to provide easy access to its results via an interactive dashboard developed by the All-Island Research Observatory (AIRO) at Maynooth University. The Regional Assemblies collaborated with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government in the production of the Index and the next phase will see the development of a mapping module which will be embedded in the Department’s myplan website.

The Index establishes the functional area of each of the urban centres studied.  This methodology acknowledges that the economic reach of the cities and towns extends beyond the administrative boundaries and includes a number of contiguous electoral districts. While the geographic reach is subject to change over time based on development factors the Index provides a valuable aid for policy-makers as to the influence the urban core has on its hinterland. Spatial and socio-economic planning can benefit from this analysis, allowing for a greater emphasis on place-making planning policies to enable a more informed approach to managing diverse growth patterns, agglomeration effects and developmental challenges.  

Photocaption: ​L to R: Prof Jim Walsh, Vice President, Maynooth University;  Justin Gleeson, Director, AIRO, Maynooth University; Stephen Purcell, Future Analytics Consulting; Billy Hynes, Future Analytics Consulting; Gerry Finn, Director, BMW Regional Assembly; Niall Cussen, Senior Planning Adviser at Department of the Environment Heritage and Local Government and Stephen Blair, Director of the S&E Regional Assembly