A tale of two cities: figures reveal massive contrast in recovery rates since recession
Limerick failed to bounce back fast after the economy went belly-up and suffered the biggest drop in numbers at work since the boom.
But Dublin city and commuter towns benefited from a huge employment boost, with the number of people at work soaring up to 60pc above Celtic Tiger levels.
New figures reveal huge contrasts in recovery rates in our towns and cities since the recession.
Although some towns enjoyed big employment gains between 2006 and 2016, others - including Templemore, Bantry and Ballyshannon - suffered slumps ranging from 24pc to 34pc.
Unemployment got so bad in Ballyshannon at one point that its mayor was considering a rally to highlight the problem.
The numbers at work in Limerick plummeted by 2,791 in the 10 years - the biggest fall of over 160 towns surveyed by the Irish Independent. It suffered one of the worst large-scale redundancy announcements of the early recession when computer giant Dell closed with the loss of 1,900 jobs.
The head of regional development at the IDA, Anne-Marie Tierney-Le Roux, said Limerick had been playing catch-up, but had secured investment from global players. These include Regeneron, Becton Dickinson, and Edwards Lifesciences, which announced 600 jobs earlier this year.
Dee Ryan, CEO of Limerick Chamber of Commerce, said: "The CSO stats relate to 2016 but in the year and a half since then we have seen a further 5,000 jobs created."
She added that a 17-year strategy launched in 2013 with the aim of creating 12,000 jobs over the lifetime of the plan had already delivered 14,000 jobs.
The post-crisis years in many Dublin suburbs and commuter-belt towns couldn't have been more different. Rathnew in Wicklow, Newcastle in Dublin and Kinsealy-Drinan near Swords have enjoyed dramatic increases of between 55pc and 60pc in the numbers at work.
Prosperous in Kildare has not quite lived up to its name but experienced a small hike in the numbers employed of less than 1pc.
Ashbourne, Maynooth, Swords, Celbridge and Sallins made gains of over 800 in the numbers at work - despite feeling the effect of job losses at SR Technics, Aer Lingus, and Pfizer.
Overall, Dublin city and suburbs enjoyed the greatest boost in employment of the big cities, with the numbers at work up 7pc - although Cork was not far behind at 6pc. Galway was also ahead of the State average.
The CEO of Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Mary Rose Burke, said the figures show the importance of Dublin's role in driving the job recovery of the past decade.