Friday 1 May 2009

Workforce "increasingly reliant’ on car transport

AT the height of the economic boom in 2006, Irish towns had a working population that exceeded the number of resident workers, with more commuters than ever using cars.

Using information from the 2006 census, the CSO yesterday issued a profile of the working population of large Irish towns in 2006 which showed that most Irish towns gained in terms of commuters.

It paints a far different picture to Ireland today.

The profile shows the Irish workforce is increasingly reliant on car transport, despite efforts to increase the numbers using public transport in recent years.

It shows that over 57% of employees drove to work, while the percentage using bus transport dropped from 6.7% to 6.1% by 2006.

Over the same period the numbers travelling by train increased by over two-thirds, a direct result of the introduction of the LUAS in Dublin.

The number of people taking more than an hour to get to work increased from 142,500 to 187,000, with urban dwellers having a longer commute than their rural counterparts despite their shorter travelling distances.

Cork city had more than 65,000 workers in 2006, which rose to 84,000 when commuters were taken into account.

The city had higher than average proportions of workers in manufacturing, health and wholesale retail.

Cork also had proportionately more workers with a third-level qualification.

Three out of four workers travelled by car to work, with only 6.5% using a bus or a train.

Cork now has more than 16,500 people on the Live Register.

The profile shows that in 2006, more than 394,000 workers working in Dublin lived there. However, when the numbers commuting to the city are included, this figure rises to 442,000.

Real estate, renting and business activities accounted for more than 15% of workers, the highest percentage employed in this sector of all the cities and towns profiled.

Just over half the workers drove to work in Dublin city, making it the least reliant on car transport of all the cities and towns profiled.

Almost a quarter commuted by bus or train, while 13% walked to work.

In terms of employment, the situation in 2006 is very different when compared to the current employment levels in the capital, which now has almost 88,000 people on the dole.

Almost 40,000 people were employed in Galway city in 2006, making it the third largest working population in the country after Dublin and Cork.

Irish Examiner

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