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Planners accused of driving families out of rural Ireland


DEATH OF RURAL IRELAND? Cllr Paul McNamara thinks so.

Anton McNulty

AN ACHILL councillor has accused Mayo County Council of not wanting anyone to live in rural Ireland after they recommended the refusal of a house despite another house built on the same site.
There was controversy at yesterday’s (Monday) monthly meeting of the West Mayo Municipal District when the majority of the councillors called on Mayo County Council to rethink their decision not to grant planning permission for a young family to build a home in the village of Cashel on Achill Island.
Following the discussion Director of Services Tom Gilligan told the councillors that in light of their passion on the subject, the Council will consider the file again.
The councillors were informed by Brendan Munnelly, planner with the Council, that planning was recommended for refusal on grounds of the high water table, the coastal location of the site and because the development would interfere with the character of the landscape.
The matter was raised by Cllr Paul McNamara who asked how the Council could come to this decision despite granting planning permission of a house on the same site and for two Council houses on neighbouring sites.
He said the applicants were a young couple with children who ‘against the odds’ were looking to live and raise their children in Achill.
“What is the alternative to refusing planning permission to this family who have against the odds not taken the plane or boat to London or Australia or moved to the east coast but stayed in rural Ireland. When we send out that letter telling them they are to be refused permission we are telling them to pack their bags and they are not wanted here. That is what this refusal is spelling out. Mayo County Council do not want anyone living in rural Ireland and instead want them in Westport, Castlebar and Claremorris,” he said.
Cllr McNamara said the family are currently renting and were saving to build their own home but if they had ‘sat on their arses all day’ the Council would provide housing for them.

Mr Munnelly said the house was ‘right on the coast’ but Cllr McNamara disputed this saying it was 100m from the coast and ‘if that is right on the coast people are not familiar with Achill’. Mr Munnelly also said there was no improvements to the trial hole and that site was a ‘difficult site’.
The issue was also raised by other councillors with Cllr Gerry Coyle saying that the only people entitled to views were those who live their for 365 days of the year and not those who come for a week.
Mr Gilligan told the councillors that the Council would take all points on board but stressed they had rules and regulations to had to adhere to.

MPU Mayo