2.6 Health & Well-being

Closed28 Feb, 2023, 15:54 - 30 Apr, 2023, 17:00

Limerick City and County Council area has a general health profile close to the national average (Census 2016). In the local authority area, 86.1% of the population rate their health as very good or good (87% national average) and 10.6% rate their health as fair, bad or very bad (9.6% national average).

Health Inequalities

In Limerick City, the health status of the population is worse compared with the average situation in the state, and the more rural County Limerick. In the city, 81.4% rate their health as very good or good compared with 88.1% in the County while 13.8% rate their health as fair, bad or very bad in the city compared with 9.2% in the County. The poorer health status of people in the city is linked to social deprivation and an ageing population structure.

The more disadvantaged areas of the city including the regeneration areas have the poorest health profile compared with the average. Of the regeneration areas, Ballinacurra Weston has the worst health profile with over three-quarters of the population rating their health as good or very good and over 20% rating their health as fair, bad or very bad. The poor health profile in the southside disadvantaged estates of the city (Southill, Ballinacurra Weston, parts of Garryowen) is also connected to a larger percentage of the population being in the older age groups in these areas compared, for instance, with large areas of social housing on the northside, Ballynanty and Moyross (which have a younger population structure).

In the County, the area which shows poorest health status is Rathkeale, where 19% of the population rate their health as fair, poor or very bad. Again, this is associated with social deprivation in the town.

Deliberate Self-harm & Mental Health

Drawing on other sources of data, the rate of deliberate self-harm is used as an indicator of poor mental health status. Drawing on the Registry of Deliberate Self-Harm, rates of deliberate self-harm are higher in more urbanised local authority areas compared with rural counties. Deliberate self-harm rates are consistently higher for females compared with males.  Limerick City rates of male and female deliberate self-harm are amongst the highest in the state. Limerick County is amongst those counties with lowest rates for male deliberate self-harm (less than 143 per 100,000 in 2019) while in 2019, the female rate (between 201 and 219 per 100,000) was below the national average (226 per 100,000). Limerick County was amongst those where the gender difference between males and females was greatest. The female rate of deliberate self-harm in Limerick County was 88% higher than the male rate in 2019.[1] 

In 2012 and 2013, Limerick City had the highest rate of male self-harm of all local authority areas in the state (469 per 100,000 in 2012 and 406 per 100,000 in 2013). The male self-harm rates in Limerick City in 2012 / 2013 were more than twice the state average and over four times higher than the county with the lowest rate. The rate has fluctuated over the years and there has been a decline in some years. However, in 2019, the male rate of deliberate self-harm in Limerick City (370 per 100,000) was again the highest in the state.

In all years from 2012 to 2019, Limerick City had the highest rates of female self-harm in the state, well above twice the state average in most years. Similar to the male rate, the female rate of deliberate self-harm was highest in 2012 and 2013 (528 per 100,000 and 570 per 100,000 respectively) and has fluctuated over the years. In 2019, the rate of female deliberate self-harm in Limerick City was 468 per 100,000 compared with a state average of 226 per 100,000.

The very high rates of male and female self-harm in Limerick City are associated with the high level of social deprivation in the city. Based on analysis of national data, the younger age groups have the highest incidence rates – i.e., for males in the age groups 15-19 years, 20-24 years and 25-29 years – and females in the age group 15-19 years.

Disability and Carers

In Limerick City and County, in 2016, 15% of the population had a disability. The rate of disability is higher in Limerick City (18.8%) compared with Limerick County (13.4%). Disability rates in the city follow the same pattern of being significantly higher (from 24% to 31%) in disadvantaged areas of the city, especially those areas with ageing populations.  In the County, the highest rates of disability are found in Rathkeale Urban and Askeaton West (both at 22%). On average, female disability rates are higher than male rates (15.2% compared with 14.7% for Limerick City and County) and this applies to both the city and county sub-units.

Across the city and county, 8,476 persons are carers and 61% of those are female.


[1] Data from published reports on the National Self-Harm Registry Ireland. https://www.nsrf.ie/national-self-harm-registry-ireland