Justin Doran


“The conferences and workshops hosted by the Irish Section continue to attract policy makers and academics whose interests are in the area of regional studies and in the coming years we will continue to contribute to discussions on regional policies in Ireland. I would encourage

those who are not already members of the RSA to join and to contribute and attend the events of the Irish Section.”


The Regional Studies Irish Branch (RSAIR) was officially open in 1974 to provide a forum to discuss regional issues in Ireland.

The aim of the Section is:

  • To stimulate regional awareness, and to assess and advise on regional issues and policies affecting the public and private sectors and local communities.
  • To facilitate contact and exchange of ideas between practitioners and researchers in the field of regional development and policy.
  • To strengthen the ongoing and dynamic process of spatial planning in order to promote an integrated approach to urban and rural, regional and local development.
  • To support regional policies that seek to achieve balanced regional development leading to innovative approaches to the optimum utilisation of the social and natural resource potential of each region, and a reduction in the disparities within and between regions.
  • To advocate strategies for regional development that are complementary to policies for sustainable development, with full regard to quality of life, social cohesion, and conservation of the environment and the natural heritage.
  • To support proposals for the effective implementation of regional development strategies through participative governance structures organised at local, regional and national levels that can facilitate integration of multi-annual programmes.

Upcoming Events

Seminar – NIALL CUSSEN, Chief Executive of the Office of the Planning Regulator

Opening address: Prof.Linda Connolly (MUSSI), Respondent:Prof.Jim Walsh (Maynooth University)

Second floor, IontasBuilding, Maynooth University (North Campus)
Thursday 23rd May 2019, 15.30

The Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) has been established by Government to oversee the functioning and policy consistency of Ireland’s planning process to ensure the effective delivery of planning services by local authorities and An Bord Pleanála and quality outcomes in relation to proper planning and sustainable development. The Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018 established the legal basis for the OPR and its functions, which include the following:
• assessment of all local authority and regional assembly forward planning functions, including development plans, local area plans and regional spatial and economic strategies;
• organisational review of the systems and procedures used by any planning authority, including An Bord Pleanála, in the performance of any of their planning functions, including assessing risks of maladministration or corruption.
• driving national research, training, education and public information programmes. The OPR will establish best practice in planning
matters and highlight the role and benefit of proper planning. Mr Niall Cussen, who was appointed by Government as the Planning Regulator and Chief Executive of the OPR earlier this year will outline the work of his team in establishing and building the functionality of the OPR as well as setting out key milestones and issues to be addressed.

Online Free Registration Required (spaces are limited):

For further information:

The event is supported by the Regional Studies Association’s Ireland Section and the Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute

A flyer for the event including the abstract can be downloaded here.


Recent Events

Regional Studies Association Irish Section Annual Conference: “City-Led Regional Development and Peripheral Regions”.

The Annual Conference of the Regional Studies Association Irish Section was held in the Institute of Technology Sligo on Friday 7 September. Appropriate for the location, it had the theme “City-led Regional Development and Peripheral Regions”. The conference covered a range of themes relating to regional development and how urban areas interact with their rural regions. It was opened by Dr Chris O’Malley from IT Sligo who discussed the role of IT Sligo in the development of industry and manufacturing in the region and the IT’s role as an integrator of national policy at regional level. Dr Deirdre Garvey, Chairperson of the Western Development Commission welcomed the fact that the conference was taking place in the North West, given the recognition in the National Planning Framework of the specific challenges for the region and rural areas.

Keynote Speakers were:

  • Professor Andrew Copus, The James Hutton Institute
  • Professor Mark Partridge.

The theme of this year’s RSA-Irish Section Annual Conference was “City-led Regional Development and Peripheral Regions” focusing on the following themes:

•    Cities as a source of Economic Growth
•    Development in Peripheral Region
•    Urban centres and economic development
•    The NPF and Governance
•    The NPF and Housing
•    Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies
•    Local and regional economic forums
•    New approaches to regional development
•    International comparator cases

A full report which was published in the Local Authority Times is available to download here.

Please note: The Irish Section is a limited agent for the Regional Studies Association but without any authority to incur financial liability for that Association.