Remote working brings biggest Gaeltacht jobs boost for 25 years

Young people opted to relocate to areas during the pandemic, Údarás Na Gaeltachta says

A desire to relocate during the pandemic may be behind the best performance by companies based in the Gaeltacht for 25 years.

Údarás Na Gaeltachta, the regional authority for the region, announced the creation of 825 new full-time jobs in Gaeltacht companies in 2021, the highest number of jobs created in one year since 2008.

When job reductions are taken into account, there is a net increase of 446 in overall employment – the largest annual net increase since 1996.

Údarás chairperson Anna Ní Ghallachair said that during the pandemic there had been a boost as people, particularly young people relocated away from cities to work remotely.


"We need to redefine what the term remote means now, because with remote working and with high speed broadband we have a network of almost 30 digital hubs throughout the Gaeltacht," she told Morning Ireland.

“With the cost of living in cities such as Dublin, but also further afield, rents in particular, the inability to purchase a house and then quality of life issues which have been improved no end in the Gaeltacht areas, we find that young people are more and more attracted to the Gaeltacht.”

The Kerry Gaeltacht area of Uíbh Ráthach (Iveragh peninsula) alone had 130 relocation inquiries and 20 families moved to the area.

The jobs had been created in a wide variety of sectors including the green economy, the blue economy, the med tech sector and the food sector, she added.

“Very often our companies started off with two or three people on a very modest basis and have worked their way through innovation and high quality staff and also the support of Udaras to become what they are today,” she said.

“So they are not necessarily reliant on a mother company in the towns or cities,” she said.

There were 7,809 full-time and 485 part-time jobs in companies supported by Údarás na Gaeltachta at the end of 2021.

Employment levels in Údarás na Gaeltachta client companies in the Galway, Cork and Waterford Gaeltacht areas are at their highest levels in the history of the organisation.

The Údarás annual report concluded that Gaeltacht companies have shown good levels of stability and the region witnessed a degree of recovery in terms of employment, driven by company innovation and the considerable growth of the medical devices and medical products sectors.

This was despite the problems in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.