Five years ago today we published the first WDC Insights blog post. This special anniversary post today is our 208th post.
As we noted in the celebration for our 200th post, the blog covers a wider range of topics from the impact of the famine on the Region’s population, to the analysis of economic and social issues for the Western Region. We are delighted that the blog has given us an effective way to let you all know about our work and given us, the authors, the opportunity to explore issues we might not have otherwise considered.
In this short celebratory post we thought we should give you a little insight into the workings of the blog and show you some of the other places where you can find our work.
The WDC Insights blog is written by the Policy Analysis Team in the Western Development Commission. There are three of us, Deirdre Frost, Pauline White and me, Helen McHenry. Regular readers may have spotted that, while we all post on social and economic issues for the Western Region and for rural areas, we also have a few specialist areas. Deirdre, for example, is our telecoms and rail expert; Pauline posts on employment and enterprise; and I cover energy and low carbon issues. These are just examples of some our work areas. We all cover specific issues relevant to different aspects of regional and rural development and , of course, have a particular focus on our seven county Western Region.
In general we rotate posting among the team, so we are all familiar with the three week deadline and the ‘what will I write about this week?’ question. Sometimes it is obvious. We may have completed or published some analysis, attended an interesting event or given a presentation. Sometimes it is not so obvious. The posts we write on these occasions, in retrospect, are often most fun to prepare, covering some issue important to the Region following something of particular interest to us, or analysing unusual data available at county level (something that still excites us!). One great thing I have learned about those posts is that you never know when a piece of analysis will suddenly become relevant or useful.
Where to find our work
As the blog is a showcase for the work of the Policy Analysis Team at the Western Development Commission this is a good opportunity to highlight some of the other work we do which may be of interest. All our work is on the website of the Western Development Commission www.wdc.ie and you can read more about the areas covered by the team here.
On the website we have statistics about each of the seven counties and the Western Region in our County Profiles. The areas covered include:
- Physical data (e.g. land mass)
- Human Resource
- Centres of Population
- Education levels
- Natural Resources
- Local Sustainability
The best place to find our range of outputs in on the publications page of the WDC site which has all of our reports and papers and our submissions.
We produce a range of reports and papers including:
- detailed reports such as that on Travel to Work and Labour Catchments
- shorter policy Briefs (8-12 pages) like Why care about regions?
- our two page WDC Insights are ideal for the time pressed- we’ve just been publishing a series on sectoral employment characteristics of the Western Region
- The Brexit repository which contains links to key papers and information about Brexit is also here (it has just been updated)
- presentations are also in the reports and papers section of the publications page. For example we gave presentations on sectors and travel to work at the recent NERI
We also make submissions to national policy consultations on an on-going basis to provide a Western Region perspective to national and regional policy making. These are on the submissions page. Recent submissions were on European Union guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network, the options for the use of revenues raised from increases in Carbon Tax and to the Northern and Western Regional Assembly on the Draft of its Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy. See all of our submissions here
We hope that you continue to enjoy the blog and find our analysis useful and interesting. Don’t forget that to be sure of getting our weekly posts you can follow the blog here. You can also sign up to the WDC Insights Policy Mailing List for monthly updates on our work and publications or follow us on twitter where we are @wdcinsights.
In the meantime we are off to celebrate our five years of blogging!
Helen McHenry, Deirdre Frost and Pauline White
 Pun intended.