NEWKD has contracted with the Gesera Institute of Action Research, with the support of Marei, to undertake a Socio -economic profile of the Dingle Peninsula area during the next few months. This will provide facts and insights for communities, which will be of use in future funding applications, and for planning and addressing the future needs of each community.

There are a number of key elements to this study. One is desk- research study which will draw on factual information gathered from the 2016 and 2006 Census of Population. This will provide a quantitative demographic and socio-economic description of the peninsula in respect of such elements as population numbers, household and family types, gender, age, nationality/ ethnicity, use of Irish language, levels of educational attainment, occupation, and employment status, travel to work times etc.

This will establish an information baseline, identify possible development opportunities and provide an opportunity to engage with community and stakeholders in evidence – based / planning and decision making discussions.

A second element to this study is the hosting of a series of community meetings on the peninsula. At these, the facilitators will present the main findings from the demographic and socio-economic profile.

Members of the community will be invited to give feedback on what the implications are, the strengths and challenges and what can be done about these – What strategies and actions need to be put in place to enable the community to grow and develop in a way that is economically feasible, socially progressive and environmentally friendly?

Connor Mc Gookin student based out of the MaREI Centre, is interested in better understanding what the transition to a low carbon future will mean for the community. As a part of this socio economic study, his work will explore people’s opinions of the required changes to our energy system.

NEWKD is currently undertaking a round of community consultation meetings across Corca Dhuibhne. The purpose of these meetings is to inform community-led and evidence-based planning at community level and for the peninsula as a whole. The process is evidence based and involves examining data from the Census of Population for each community. This allows local people to get a firm handle on local issues, needs, priorities and potential. The meetings also look specifically at the natural environment and energy consumption on the peninsula, and participants consider how to reduce our energy bills and dependencies.

Meetings have taken place in Lios Póil, Camp, Baile an Fheirtéaraigh, Castlegregory, Annascaul, Keel, An Clochán and Dingle Town. Further meetings will be held in early 2020 as a follow-up to previous meetings. Everybody is welcome, and as well as getting information, attendees are invited and enabled to comment on issues and to put forward their views and recommendations.

The Census of Population data provide clear and easy-to-understand statistics on the demographics in every community – including age, nationality, use of the Irish language, occupations, modes of travel, place of work, housing and family composition. Among the standout features, as observed by members of the public at recent meetings, are the high proportion of holiday homes, the high level of educational attainment, the numbers of people living alone and the potential to increase use of the Irish language. The meetings have identified specific project proposals in several areas, and these will be taken forward to NEWKD and other agencies.

The data on energy consumption show how the current model of fossil fuel consumption places increased financial burdens on the people of Corca Dhuibhne, relative to other parts of Ireland. The figures also show above average levels of greenhouse gas emissions, and point to the need for more local and community-led methods of energy production, coupled with greater efficiencies in homes, transport and industries.

NEWKD is committed to taking on board the views of local citizens, and there will be follow-up meetings in early 2020. For further information, please contact Seamus in the NEWKD Dingle Office on Tel: (066) 714 2788 or email dingleinfo@newkd.ie