Census delay means some data in upcoming Economic and Community plan will be out of date

Donegal County Council officials say the cancellation of the 2021 census for a year is having an impact on the authority’s new Local Economic and Community Plan, work on which will be getting underway in the coming weeks.

The 2024 to 2029 plan will be completed in the coming months, but because the census was delayed for a year, some of the relevant data to consider its socio-economic context may be out of date.

At a recent meeting, Cllr Albert Doherty referenced the Pobal HP Deprivation Index published in November, and asked how it will effect the plan in the context of how support is directed to areas and communities which require additional resources.

Officials acknowledged the delay in getting new census data is a challenge, and there will have to be future consideration of more up to date and comprehensive demographic and other data provided by the census as it becomes available.

They indicated this is factored into the second stage of the process, which will be the Implementation Plan, outlining how the priorities in the LECP are to be delivered.

Consultants working with the Council will continue to engage with stakeholders, and a series of workshops with elected members will take place at municipal district level, starting on Friday of this week and finishing on Monday February 26th.


Council response in full –

How does the November 2023 release of the Pobal HP Deprivation Index (a Socio Economic Statement) affect/influence the 2023-2029 Donegal LECP plan? With little obvious change to 2021 areas of disadvantage, (since 2016), how will EESPC,LCDC and FMA Consultants re – engage with communities, lobby Government and ensure support is directed to areas and communities of disadvantage which require additional resources and support social inclusion?”   


The postponement of the 2021 census, and the pattern of release of current data, including the Pobal HP Deprivation Index released in November 2023 is recognised as a challenge. This is recognised and referenced as such on Page 13 of the LECP Guidelines 2021.


It is noted that relevant data is available to consider the socio-economic context for the LECP and there is a future need to facilitate consideration of the more up to date and comprehensive demographic and other data that is provided by the census as and when this data becomes available. This is factored into the Stage/Step process of developing the Integrated LECP Framework.


In this regard the Integrated LECP Framework is made up of two distinct parts, The LECP Framework Plan and the Implementation Plan. The Implementation Plan process is aimed at achieving the objectives of the framework LECP, and will allow for full consideration of the resources available to support the delivery of these initiatives each year. In addition, this approach will also facilitate consideration of updated census data once available with a comprehensive review process required as part of the implementation plan process. In summary the release of recent data including Pobal HP Deprivation Index, will be considered as part of the 2year Implementation Plan review process and as set out in the Guidelines. FMA Consultants working with the Council will continue engaging with stakeholders over the coming few weeks to mid March 2024 informing objectives and actions of the LECP 2024 – 2029 considering objectives and actions which add value to their places, their work and/or enhance their overall quality of life.


For your further reference The Project Team with FMA Consultants will meet in dedicated LECP workshop with Members at MD level, commencing Friday 16th February through to Monday 26th February in relation to the emerging objectives and actions of the LECP. In this regard. and further to feedback from the LECP Advisory Steering Group and the Joint LCDC / Economic Development SPC, we are proposing to present the Donegal Integrated Framework Plan 2024-2029 to Full Council Plenary Meeting in March 2024.