In 2019, one in 12 (8.4%) of rural households said they had great difficulty in accessing a shop that sells groceries, while a further 19.7% said they had some difficulty.

According to the results of the Central Statistics Office (CSO) ‘Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) Report on Household Amenities and Access to Services 2004-2019’, rural households have reported increased difficulty in accessing services such as post offices, banks and shops.

Between 2011 and 2019, respondents were asked about their self-perceived ease in accessing local services.

“The proportion of rural households with great difficulty accessing public transport increased from 23.4% in 2011 to 27.9% in 2019, whereas the proportion for urban households remained the same in 2011 and 2019, at 3% both years,” the CSO said.

In 2019, 11.3% of rural households said they had great difficulty accessing primary health care services [such as a GP, a primary health centre, a casualty department or similar, where first-aid treatment could be received], compared with 2.4% of urban households.

“The proportion of rural households having great difficulty access to a bank increased from 9.8% in 2011 to 15.5% in 2019, the corresponding figure for urban households was 2.5% in 2011 and 2.7% in 2019.”

Crime, noise and environmental problems

The number of households that said they had problems with crime, violence or vandalism in their locality fell from 16.1% in 2006 to 8.2% in 2019. This was higher for urban households, with the figure at 10.2% in 2019, compared with 4% in rural areas.

The proportion of households having problems with noise from the street or from neighbours was 8.3% in 2019, with 10.7% of households in urban areas having such problems compared with 3.2% of those in rural areas.

In 2019, 6% of households said they had problems with pollution, grime or other environmental problems caused by traffic or industry in their local area, compared with 9% in 2004.