The recently published “Putting People First - New Role for Local Government” (PPF) promotes a “clearer and enhanced role for local government in promoting and facilitating enterprise and economic development”. It requires the preparation of Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies by the proposed new Regional Assemblies to underpin the economic dimensions of the NSS or succeeding documents.

 Under the terms of PPF Local Authorities will be required to prepare and adopt County Economic Strategies by means of the Variation process to transpose such future Regional Strategies into lower level land-use plans and strategies. Cognisant of the foregoing integrated model the aim of this baseline multi-factorial study is to set out the economic profile for Meath and identify clear paths and directions for sustainable economic growth building on the recent Mid-East Economic Development Action Plan prepared on behalf of the three mid-east counties by The Department of Geography, NUI Maynooth and adopted by Mid- East Regional Authority (MERA) earlier this year.

The collaborative input from the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government (DOECLG) and the Regional Planning Authority has been very beneficial and is viewed as an essential component in the successful delivery of this significant body of work. The DOECLG are currently considering awarding Pilot Status for Best Practice for the overall project.

This Base Line Study, produced by Justin Gleeson of the All-Island Research Observatory (AIRO) and Dr. Chris van Egeraat of the Department of Geography NUI Maynooth, is thus an initial critical building block in this overall integrated model. It conveys the changes in economic activity in the county over the past 20 years plotting, inter alia, the growth in population, employment, infrastructure capacity, regional development, global economics, education, labour skills, research and development.