Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 19 January 2022
Joint Committee on the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Irish Speaking Community
Tithíocht agus Cúrsaí Pleanála Fisiciúla sa Ghaeltacht: Plé (Atógáil)
Ms Caroline Phelan:
I resent the terms "cop-out" and "not responsible" that have been used with regard to the development plan. There is no legal capacity on restricting housing for a special class of person, as there is in other areas. Lands are zoned for housing predicated on a national direction under the national framework plan and not the regional spatial and economic strategy, RSES. That is how urban plans are done. There could be an argument that 10% of our population are persons with disability as well. We have overtures from various persons making justifications about their right to housing, but there is a difference in an urban area and we are doing our best when it comes to land use. The other point to remember is that not all of those areas in the Gaeltacht are zoned for housing either and a lot of them are quite sensitive in terms of the environment. The geographical spread they have would attract other types of zoning, particularly if they are adjacent to areas of conservation etc.
The draft plan is due to go on public display by the end of the month. It will be out for ten weeks for anybody to make a submission, either written, on the portal or whichever way suits them. There will also be capacity to have an outreach and public consultation process, if it is possible with Covid. When we do that in the Gaeltacht, we do it bilingually. Knocknacarra Community Centre is usually our outreach place for that side of town. Submissions can be made for ten weeks and then it will be back to the members of the council to deliberate on it. If they have any other changes, those changes go back on public display. The plan will be adopted towards the end of the year, but at the moment there is a ten-week period for anybody to make a submission.