Roscommon Councillor Advocates for Right to Rural Housing

Roscommon councillor Laurence Fallon calls for an end to the policy discouraging one-off rural housing in Ireland, citing its negative impact on rural villages and schools. Fallon proposes allowing each family to provide a site for all their children to address the issue.

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Roscommon Councillor Advocates for Right to Rural Housing

Roscommon Councillor Advocates for Right to Rural Housing

Roscommon Athlone area councillor Laurence Fallon is calling for an end to the policy discouraging one-off rural housing in Ireland. Fallon believes citizens should have the right to build homes in their birthplace, citing the negative impact the current restrictions are having on rural villages and schools in South Roscommon.

According to Fallon, the policy is contributing to dwindling school numbers in villages like Rahara. "The challenge for places like my own local village of Rahara, and most other small villages in South Roscommon, is that the school has dwindling numbers and that is not by accident. That's because of Government policy where there is a desire not to allow people to build one-off houses in the countryside," he said.

Why this matters: The struggle to balance urban development with rural community preservation has far-reaching implications for Ireland's social and economic fabric. If left unchecked, the decline of rural villages and schools could lead to a loss of cultural heritage and community identity.

The lack of services, including sewerage systems, in rural villages compounds the problem. The current policy forces people to move to larger towns, stripping rural areas of a balanced population and threatening the survival of schools and communities.

"I think it is the right of every citizen who is born in the parishes in South Roscommon that they should have the right to live and build a house in the area, irrespective of whether they are farming or working in a job in Athlone or wherever,"Fallon stated. "Without that we will have a dwindling population, we will have an ageing population and at some stage you'll see schools like Rahara, and a myriad of other schools, closing through lack of numbers."

Fallon's proposal would allow each family to provide a site for all of their children. He emphasizes the need for villages throughout South Roscommon, such as Athleague, Ballyforan, and Monksland, to have proper serviced sites available for people who want to live in the area.

The councillor's call for a change in rural housing policy highlights the ongoing struggle to balance urban development with the preservation of rural communities in Ireland. As the debate continues, the future of villages and schools in South Roscommon and other rural areas hangs in the balance.