County Monaghan is one of the three Ulster counties in the Republic of Ireland and the most northerly inland county in the country. Furthermore, some 90% of the county is located within 10 miles of the border with Northern Ireland.
County Monaghan has a land area of 500 square miles and a population of 61,273 persons. The countryside is characterised by rolling hills or drumlins with no major mountain ranges or rivers.
Traditionally agriculture has been the backbone of the economy and food production is still a very important sector. Other important sectors have been the furniture and engineering business and in recent years much of the work force is employed in the poultry sector, mushroom production and transportation.
The economy of the county is almost totally dependent on indigenous industries for survival. Indeed the entrepreneurial spirit of the people is widely recognised. Unemployment figures have been traditionally low, however, due to the extensive employment opportunities in the food and agri businesses.
The County Council views the attraction of highly skilled industries into the county as a priority and to this end accepts that the provision of basic infrastructure is a pre-requisite. For example, the development of major bypasses along the N2 route at Carrickmacross, Castleblayney and Monaghan to eliminate the peripheral location of the county viz a viz the greater Dublin area is critical. Furthermore, the rollout of the fibre optic network and the provision of broadband technology is also a priority. The provision of high quality housing and water and sewerage facilities are important for sustaining the existing population and making provision for future growth.