Emma McNamara spent the week on the road for Morning Ireland, checking out how some small towns and cities are doing now the economy is growing again.

Each of the places visited has seen a large number of jobs created in the last year - the obvious signs of returning prosperity. But the challenges those places face - whether it is educational deprivation, poor broadband or badly planned retail developments outside the towns - are also plain to see.

One of the things Waterford is battling is low footfall in the city centre, and by lowering car parking prices at the far side of the city from The Quay, footfall has increased in the surrounding area, and cafes and a pub have opened nearby. The city also has seriously high unemployment.

Dundalk- which was famous for cigarettes, shoes, brewing and train building - has been transformed by some big, high tech employers, with PayPal recently announcing another 400 positions are to be filled there. But the town still suffers from high unemployment.

Sligo’s businesses have strong links with the Institute of Technology there, and Abbott’s recent spin-off AbbVie recently announced over 100 jobs in the town. But it main problem is attracting new business to the town and getting over the view that its "peripherality" is an issue.

Carrick-on-Shannon in Co Leitrim - famous for boating, angling and stag and hen parties - realises it needs to attract more big business. There, VistaMed recently announced another 125 at its medical products facilities in Carrick and Roosky. But filling the final engineer positions is proving challenging for the company.

Emma talks to Barry Maye from Rigney Dolphin Group and Conor O'Byrne from Relate Care. She also hears from Eddie Mulligan, the chairman of Waterford Business Group, and Colm Tracey from Eishtec.

Waterford interviews 1

Waterford interviews 2

IDA Ireland's chief executive Barry O'Leary talks to Emma about the town's recent success in attracting new investment there. She also speaks to Prometric's Brendan Gallagher, Declan Campbell from Digiweb, Paul Johnston from Stat Sports and Paddy Malone from the Dundalk Chamber of Commerce.

Dundalk interviews 1

Dundalk interviews 2


Julie Sinnamon, the chief executive of Enterprise Ireland, speaks about the important of indigenous companies to the Irish economy. Emma also hears from Mark Butler, from Lotus Works, Stiefel's Steve Burgess and Professor Terri Scott, the head of IT Sligo, about the third level institution's links with business in the town.

Sligo interviews 1

Sligo interviews 2


Local business owners Brendan Kieran - who owns a pharmacy in the town - and Seamus Gibbons from Electric Bike Trails tell Emma McNamara about their hopes for the future. She also talks to VistaMed employees Christine Lynch and Declan Whyte as its its business development manager,  Jonnie Goodwin. And Frank Curran, the CEO of Leitrim County Council, tells Emma about why the county is such a good place to live. 

Carrick-on-Shannon interviews 1

Carrick-on-Shannon interviews 2