Galway East TD and Minister for Rural Affairs Seán Canney has outlined a suite of measures to support Rural Ireland after latest figures showed a slight decline in populations in highly rural or remote areas but growth in small towns.
Commenting on the figures from the Central Statistics Office, Minister Canney said they illustrated the need for additional supports to help rural areas, in particular for the supply of services.
He added: “Growth is being held back in many parts of Galway East because of a lack of services. For example the need for modern sewerage treatment plants is holding back housing development in our villages.
“I am pleased to see new funding applications being made by Galway County Council to carry out appraisals for sewerage treatment plants at Craughwell, Corofin and Abbeyknockmoy. This is a step in the right direction but we need to see this happening elsewhere.
Minister Canney said another important measure would be the easing of planning regulations to support home-based economic activities, such as tractor repairs and joinery manufacturing.
“We need to encourage small home industries but the regulations are too onerous,” he added.
Minister Canney said that even though the statistics showed some growth in small towns, much more should be done to stimulate development.
He called for a series of measures to bring vacant buildings back into use in small towns.
These included VAT rebates, exemptions for planning and utility connection charges and mortgage incentives under the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan Scheme for first time buyers.
Minister Canney said other strategies to ensure sustainable and growing populations in rural areas were the provision of improved rural transport and broadband connectivity, with the latter strategy well in hand with the roll out of the National Broadband Plan now under way.

For more information, contact Minister Canney on 086-2513639
December 27 2019