Lower living costs and less traffic among reasons to move to northwest, survey finds

Study says 91% of 217 respondents recommend switch to Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal

Lower living costs, better access to schools and a daily commute of 10 minutes or less are among the main attractions for many people who have decided to relocate to the northwest of Ireland, a new survey finds.

Some 91 per cent of 217 professionals who have chosen to live and work in Donegal, Sligo or Leitrim in the last five years say they would recommend making such a move to others.

The relocation study, entitled ‘Why I Chose the Northwest’ , was carried out by recruitment & HR services group, Collins McNicholas between January and March and is to be published on Wednesday at Rosses Point, Co Sligo. It found a better support network, less traffic and having more disposable income were other benefits of making the move.

Four out of five (82 per cent) of the respondents hold an honours degree or above. A third of those surveyed had moved to the northwest from overseas, a further third moved from Dublin with the remainder coming from other locations in Ireland.


Respondents in many cases said they had chosen the region to advance their careers but many of these also said they found an improved work-life balance. Some 76 per cent said they had moved into a similar or more senior role after switching to the north west.


Alex Lustig, a senior executive with LiveTiles in Sligo, said that when he switched the concrete of New York for the nature of Sligo he had to get used to not being able to order pizza at 3am.

However, he had been paying US$1,400 dollars a month for a small bedroom and a shared kitchen “but now, I’m renting a two-bedroom house in the centre of Sligo town for a lot less”.

However, a note of caution was sounded by Padraic White, chairman of Collins McNicholas, who said "we are operating on borrowed time" for businesses when it comes to accessing the region as an upgrade of the N4 road from Mullingar to Sligo was urgently needed.

"The road is in dire need of improvement as it is inhibiting the potential of the North West," said Mr White, a former managing director of IDA Ireland. "A priority should be the Carrick-on-Shannon by-pass as the current through road cannot cope and is causing serious delays between Dublin-Sligo at peak times."

Mr White said the planned improvement to the A5 route from Aughnacloy to Donegal and Derry, to which the Government is to make a financial contribution, had been seriously delayed.

“The northwest, its politicians, local authorities and business need to exert a more concerted push to get these key routes prioritised and a much greater sense of urgency behind their advancement in the interest of the continued economic development of the region.”


More than four in five respondents (84 per cent) had bought or would consider buying property in the region

Collins McNicholas said a series of recent positive job announcements had boosted the attractiveness of the northwest. New Jersey-based company ASG on Tuesday announced 100 jobs for Sligo.

Sonya Connolly, a Sligo native and HR manager with Avenue Mould/GW Plastics , said she and her family had not looked back since making the decision to come home after time in the US, Australia and Dublin.

She said her daily commute had been cut from 40 minutes to five minutes since returning to Sligo.

“I have taken up surfing, dancing and lake swimming,” she said. “We are in the process of hiring over 200 people so I couldn’t have found a more interesting job.”

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh, a contributor to The Irish Times, reports from the northwest of Ireland