No digital age for 16,000 homes in Limerick with lack of access to internet

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

No digital age for 16,000 homes in Limerick with lack of access to internet

Nearly 16,000 households in Limerick have no access to the internet, according to Census figures released by the Central Statistics Office

MORE THAN 22,500 homes in Limerick are without a computer, while nearly 16,000 households have no access to the internet, according to Census figures released by the Central Statistics Office.

While 46,590 households have access to broadband services, 15,897 homes are without an internet connection, the CSO figures show.

A total of 6,623 households stated that had access to the internet through “other” means, while 2,272 homes did not state if they had a connection or not.

This means that, of the 71,022 households surveyed, 22% of Limerick homes are without an internet connection.

According to the CSO figures, 22,587 homes do not have a personal computer — 31.8% of Limerick households.

Fine Gael councillor Daniel Butler said that the low levels of computer ownership is down to the advent of handheld devices, internet access, and socioeconomic factors.

“The most significant information in the CSO figures is the lack of internet access for a large amount of our population. Access figures are hugely skewed towards those living in the metropolitan area where access levels are high. Geographically, the city is located at one end of the county bordering Clare, giving us a large sprawling county leaving a large distance from central services.”

Cllr Butler added: “Broadband services are targeted based on business priorities by the various suppliers and so supplying the county is not economically viable leaving those in the county dependent on a slow moving government strategy. Once you leave where the population mass is even to areas like Mungret or Patrickswell your witnessing little or no service. Even where we see a service we have snail pace service.”

He added that there is a strong correlation between high levels of social deprivation and limited internet access.

Meanwhile, less than 2% of Limerick’s working population cycles to work.

The statistics show that of Limerick’s 76,098-strong labour force, just 1,159 — or 1.5% — people cycle to work. The figures show that 7,100 people walk to work, while 1,917 travel via bus, and 140 commute to work by train.

In Limerick city, 2.4% of people cycle to work, less than half of Galway and Cork’s bike user levels, and a quarter of Dublin’s. The rate of Limerick city bus users, at 3.95%, is also considerably lower than other Irish cities.

Solidarity councillor Cian Prendiville said that Limerick is “lagging behind” other cities in this area.