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The Numbers Game

"Hurrah, hurrah; hurrah my boys hurrah!"

Preliminary 2002 census figures for the Twenty-Six Counties which form the Republic of Ireland are gratifying. From a population of 2,971,992 in 1926 the population of the Republic has grown to 3,917,336 in 2002, an increase of almost one million.

"Ochone, ochone; ochone my boys ochone!"

Figures for County Donegal show that its population has declined from 152,508 in 1926 to 137,383 in 2002.

A previous item on this web site, "A Tale of Two Towns", accessible through its archives compared the steady population decline of one and the startling population increase of the other. The towns were Ballyshannon and Letterkenny. Figures for Bundoran were also given.

The 2002 census results show further declines for Ballyshannon and Bundoran. Although small in actual numbers the figures are disturbing. For Ballyshannon, "The town that Ireland forgot", they are a reminder that outside influences and decisions made in far off centres have operated against its growth. As stated in "A Tale of Two Towns":

Time and again long-range decision making has adversely affected the environment and the economy of towns like Ballyshannon. More often than not, when the bad effects become apparent it is the local inhabitants who suffer, not the distant bureaucracy responsible in the first place.

If the decline is not to continue, townspeople must seek a greater role in the administration of their local, county, and national affairs. And with that role will come responsibility to themselves, their community, and their future.

We wish them well.


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