Seanad debates

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:30 am

Photo of Sharon KeoganSharon Keogan (Independent) | Oireachtas source

I also wish to raise the current development plans throughout the country. We need the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Deputy Darragh O’Brien, to come to the House to make a statement on the existing restrictions on the maximum number of new housing units that may be built in each county. We also need to get clarity on the rural housing strategy and how many houses will be allowed in rural areas going forward.

I wish to read a quote:

The era of unrestricted development of one-off housing in rural areas has come to an end. It has been a fundamentally flawed policy for decades that is not just anti-rural but has been a contributory factor in the decimation of our towns and villages.

One-off rural housing is extremely expensive on local authorities and other agencies in provision of roads, waste collections services, groundwater pollution, electricity, lighting, postal services and broadband.

It continued:

Concentrating serviced planning, clustered around towns and villages and within towns and villages would give capacity to retail, urban mobility and to services such as water and wastewater, where urban areas are connected in to modern treatment facilities.

Those are the words of the Minister of State, Deputy Noonan, who currently has responsibility for local government. If the Green Party gets its way there will not be anybody living in rural Ireland. We will have the birds, the bees and the foxes, but we will not have rural housing. It is about time that we woke up to that, in particular those who are living outside the urban area of County Dublin and the bigger cities. We need to wake up to the fact that this is happening in every small town and village throughout the country. We need the Minister to come to the House for a serious discussion on the current development plans around the country.

According to a proposal in County Meath the other day, 315 ha were dezoned. With what has been proposed, the local authority does not even have enough zoning to build social housing itself. It is a crazy situation that is happening throughout the country and we most definitely need to have a discussion on it.


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