Galway fastest growing city in Ireland

Galway is the fastest growing city in Ireland, new census figures showed today.

While its residents struggle on amid a water pollution crisis, the City of the Tribes is attracting plenty of newcomers with more than 231,000 now living there.

Galway grew by just under 10% between 2002 and 2006.

Last year, there were 2.19 million people living in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford accounting for 34.2% of the population - down from 35.5% four years earlier.

According to the first volume of census 2006 released by the Central Statistics Office, Ireland's population grew by 8.2% to 4,239,848 in the four years from 2002 but less than one fifth of this growth was in the cities.

Large towns of 10,000 people or more are springing up all over the country. There are now 34, six more than 2002, including Mallow, Wicklow, Arklow, Cobh, Middleton, and Ballina.

Twenty-two of them are in Leinster. Swords showed the highest growth with 6,823 moving to the area while Balbriggan grew by more than 50% - the highest percentage growth.

Unsurprisingly Dublin has the highest population density, whilst Co Leitrim still has the most open space with the least amount of people per square kilometre.

With an election just around the corner, the census figures showed a wide variation in the make-up of Dáil constituencies.

In 2006, the population per TD in constituencies ranged from 22,833 in Dun Laoghaire to 30,967 in Dublin West.

Under the Constitution and our proportional representation system there should be one TD for between 20,000 and 30,000 people in each constituency.

According to the CSO figures, calls by Independent TDs Catherine Murphy and Finian McGrath for an additional TD in the area are justified.

They claim 11 of the 43 constituencies breach article 16 of the constitution that every constituency should have, within reason, the same ratio of TDs per population.

Other facts the census recorded included the number of villages with at least 50 occupied households and with a population of less than 1,500 increased in population by 18.6% in the inter-censal period.

In the counties of Dublin, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow the population of these small villages increased by over one third while elsewhere in the state the increase in the village population was one sixth.

The population living in sparsely populated rural areas numbered 1.37 million in 2006 compared with 1.3 million in 2002 (up 5.3%).

Most Read in Ireland