Cllr Laurence Fallon.

Fallon seeks end to policy discouraging one-off rural housing

Roscommon Athlone area councillor Laurence Fallon has called for an end to the policy of discouraging one-off rural housing and for everyone to be given the right to build a home in the area they were born, a move he says would help to bring new life to rural villages and communities.

“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.

He pointed out that a lack of services in rural villages compounds the problem: “At the same time there is no sewerage systems so there is no possibility of people building within a village like Rahara.

“So, it’s a double contradiction where the Government is reluctant to allow people to build one-off houses in the rural areas and at the same time the facility is not there from a sewerage point of view to build houses within the village. The thinking behind that is flawed.

“The only option then is for people to have to move to places like Athleague, Ballyforan and Monksland in order to live, stripping other rural areas of a balanced population that will allow schools to flourish, will allow communities to develop and will allow villages like Rahara to continue to be the thriving places that they are.”

Cllr Fallon added: “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.

“Each family should be allowed to provide a site for all of their children. The other issue that is extremely important and which should happen, and happen urgently, is that villages throughout South Roscommon need to have proper serviced sites that are available for people who want to live in the area.

“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,” concluded CllrFallon.