Council’s plan trying to ‘strip people of right to live in the countryside’

Claire O’Sullivan — Irish Examiner May 22, 2014

A candidate for Cork County Council has warned that the local authority’s draft county development plan is seeking to “strip people of the right to live in the countryside”.

According to Midleton-based candidate Wayne Halloran, the draft blueprint for the development of the county sets out that only those who work on the land should get planning permission to live in rural areas.

“As outlined on pages 60 and 61 of this document, planning permission will only be granted to those working on the land, those who have lived there for more than seven years, or those who have emigrated for over seven years and now want to return home to take care of elderly parents,” he said.

Mr Halloran said the new provisions mean farmers would not be able to leave sites to their children who have lived elsewhere but want to return to where they grew up.

“Neither is there provision for those who grew up in rural areas but had to move to find work elsewhere. There are no provisions for those who aspire to a rural life, but who grew up in urban areas. Or to those who were forced to move to Dublin, Cork, and other cities due to employment opportunities but who now wish to refocus their lives with a different work life balance.”

Mr Halloran is best known in East Cork for campaigning as part of the Clonmult-Lisgoold No Pylons group against EirGrid’s plans to build a corridor of 45m-high pylons from Cork to Wexford and on to Kildare.

He claimed the county development plan “effectively strip these people of the right to live in the countryside”.

“It goes against the history, the nature, and the rights of Irish people to force such a ruling upon them. The established parties seem happy to fill the countryside with pylons and wind turbines, but cannot find space for the rural population that wish to live in a quiet, community-based lifestyle. They seek a life where they are surrounded by nature, by fresh air and by tranquillity.”

Earlier this year, a European cable and wire manufacturer representative group, brought to Ireland for an anti-pylon conference organised by Labour MEP Phil Prendergast, warned the proliferation of one-off housing in Ireland had made it difficult to put EirGrid’s planned powerlines underground.

It would be possible to avoid people’s homes by running the Gridlink cables underground in residential areas if rural housing development was more concentrated, said Volker Wendt, the director of public affairs with Europacable.

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