Fingal (from Irish: Fine Gall, meaning 'foreign tribe') is a county in Ireland. It is located in the province of Leinster and, within that, is part of the Dublin Region. Its name is derived from the medieval territory of Scandinavian foreigners (Irish: gaill) that settled in the area.
Fingal is located to the north of Dublin City and is also bordered by South County Dublin, Meath and Kildare, and to the east by the Irish Sea. The area is defined by the diversity of its landscape and covers a geographical location of 448 square kilometres which spans rural, urban and suburban communities. There is 88km of scenic coastline stretching from Howth to Balbriggan, three large protected estuaries and salt marsh habitats with thirteen major beaches. The River Liffey borders the south-western edge.
The main urban areas include Swords, Blanchardstown, Balbriggan, Skerries, Lusk, Rush, Donabate, Malahide, Portmarnock, Baldoyle, Sutton, Howth, Balgriffin, Belcamp, Santry, Charlestown and Meakstown.
The remainder of the County is rural in character and includes the villages of Balscaddan, Naul, Garristown, Oldtown, Ballyboghil, Rowlestown, Rivermeade, Coolquay and Kinsaley.
Fingal is the fastest growing County in Ireland with a population of 296,214 as of Census 2016.
The population increased by 77% between 1996 and 2011, and by 22,223 since 2011. This 8.1% increase is the highest of any county or city in the last five years and is over twice the national rate of increase. This growth was due primarily to the high birth rate in the County and to the relatively low death rate. By 2021, the population is expected to have risen to over 330,000.
Immigration was also a factor for population growth although it is likely that much of this took place between 2006 and 2008. It is home to established communities who trace their roots back hundreds of years - these sit side by side with communities who are emerging with little past but exciting futures.
Dublin City (91,876), Fingal (46,909) and Cork County (42,002) have the largest numbers of non-Irish national residents. One in six of Fingal residents are non-Irish nationals. Fingal also has the most diverse population nationally with 24.5% of its population being of an ethnicity other than white Irish.
Fingal has the youngest population in the country with more than one in four under the age of 15. It has a low dependency ratio of 46.0% (i.e. those aged 0-14 and 65 years and over as a proportion of those aged 15-64) vs the national rate of 49.3%.
One parent families account for 23.1% of all families with children in Fingal, with a total of 13,247 lone parents; 87.8% lone mothers and 12.2% lone fathers recorded.
Fingal is the second most affluent Local Authority in Ireland, 85% of its population are either above average or affluent. It also has the lowest percentage nationally of those who report their health being bad or very bad at 1.1%.
Fingal is the chosen location for a large variety of businesses across all the main sectors of economic activity. The County is home to a diverse range of employers, varying in scale from major multi-national companies to indigenous small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small local business start-ups. The local economy has been performing well and is recovering rapidly from the downturn. There has been a steady rise in the number of businesses created in the County since 2011, with 8,311 recorded in 2018.
The strength and diversity of Fingal’s local economy are evident as it features all the key economic sectors identified within the national economy. The County performs strongly in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, with leading companies such as IBM, PayPal and Symantec represented in the Blanchardstown area. Similarly, the Pharmaceutical/ Healthcare sector is well established in Fingal by companies such as Bristol Myers-Squibb, Mallinckrodt and Mylan. The Aviation sector is a major employer and includes Aer Lingus, Dublin Airport Authority, Cityjet, Servisair and Ryanair. The Agri-Food Sector, a key employment sector for rural communities, includes enterprises such as Keelings, Country Crest, Sam Dennigan and Donnellys. The Retail Sector is also an important source of employment with regionally significant shopping centres in Blanchardstown and Swords, retail warehousing and retailers with a national-draw such as Ikea. Fingal also has a significant public service employment base represented by key employers such as Fingal County Council, Connolly Hospital and the Technological University of Dublin - Blanchardstown Campus.
Fingal’s significant economic advantages include Dublin Airport, fast access to Dublin Port, rail, road, power and telecommunications infrastructure. Proximity to Dublin city centre and location on the Dublin-Belfast economic corridor, ensure the region's continued future growth.
Dublin Airport is nationally significant due to its employment base, passenger throughput and airfreight services and it remains the primary economic hub in Fingal. With 233 thousand flights arriving and departing from 177 destinations via 46 airlines, Dublin Airport welcomed a total of 31.5 million passengers during 2018, setting a new record for the airport.
The planned MetroLink urban railway service set commence passenger services in 2027, will carry up to 50 million passengers per annum, and run between Swords and Charlemont, connecting key destinations including Dublin Airport and the City Centre.
The Dublin Enterprise Zone, which includes Damastown, Ballycoolin and Cherryhound has developed at a national scale over the last 20 years, supported by significant public and private investment. The area currently contains 20 Business Parks with approximately 1,100 business premises. In total, the Dublin Enterprise Zon adds €14.4 billion to national economic output and supports 34,600 jobs in the economy.
Flavours of Fingal is 'Ireland's Biggest County Fair' and attracted over 90,000 visitors and resulted in €3.1 million of economic output in 2018. In total, it is estimated that up to €0.5 billion euro per year is spent by visitors to Fingal. This, in turn, supports an estimated 20,000 jobs.
Fingal also has a 3rd level Higher Education Institute, the Technological University Dublin's Blanchardstown Campus, and has strong connections with Dublin City University.
Business demography in Fingal is characterised, as with all of Ireland, by a small number of very large employers and a high volume of SMEs. In Fingal this is very marked: the top 25 employers in the county only represent 0.3% of all businesses in Fingal but represent 17.9% of all employees. This contrasts with the 98% of businesses which are classed as SMEs which employ 109,000 people in the county but are made up of small companies employing 10 or fewer staff.
In 2016, 133,971 (89.7%) of the people in the labour force in Fingal were employed.
Fingal County Council
Fingal County Council was established in 1994 and is the Local Authority for the administrative county of Fingal.
The council has 40 elected members. Elections are held every five years and are by single transferable vote. The head of the council has the title of Mayor. The county administration is headed by a Chief Executive. The Mayor and Deputy Mayor are chosen from among the Councillors. The Chief Executive is appointed by central government.
Fingal County Council provides a range of services to the citizens of Fingal - community & leisure facilities, housing, planning, environmental services, maintenance, water, transportation routes, and business support to name a few. Information on all of their services is available on the Fingal County Council website.
In 2018, Fingal County Council's income from commercial rates was €120,354,400 (€406.6 per capita) which was 52.96% of the overall budget share.
Fingal County Council spent €3.5million on economic development and promotion in 2018, and the Local Enterprise Office Fingal's 211 client companies around the county employed 970 people.
The Fingal County Council Annual Budget 2019 includes a 2% increase in commercial rates to a total of €126,537,400. Along with the increase in the 2018 budget, this follows on from 2% reductions in both 2011 and 2012 which supported business within the county during an economically difficult period. The effect of this is that overall rates will remain flat from 2010 to 2019 and reflects Fingal as an extremely business-friendly environment. The increase in 2019 will yield approx. €2.5m which again has been ring-fenced in the budget for investment in operations, tourism and events, community and arts.