New families wanted but "we must look after our own"

Fiona Heavey

Reporter:

Fiona Heavey

Families wanted

Families wanted to move to Leitrim

While parts of County Leitrim are pleading for new families to move to and live in their communities, other areas may not be so welcoming to outsiders.


Independent Councillor Des Guckian put a motion before this week's County Council meeting that a list of priorities be established by the council for housing allocations.
According to the Councillor the list should “never include applications coming from far away places such as the Dublin region, who are seeking to jump an already over-long waiting list.”
Cllr Guckian explained he has been told that a council house in an estate in Carrick-on-Shannon is to be given to a “group from Navan.” He said other residents are not happy and he sought assurance from the council that this will not happen.


Mary Quinn, Director of Service, said the council must operate within the statute and this makes provision for people with “local connections to the area.”
She told Cllr Guckian his information is misleading.


Cllr Guckian commented “We must look after our own.” He said the criteria the council work under is “too wide.”


Cllr Mary Bohan stated “we must be careful about saying look after our own.” She noted Co Leitrim is a welcoming place. She said the local connection to the area is important and she knows Leitrim County Council is very helpful to families seeking social housing.
Cllr Sean McDermott pointed out that places like Kiltyclogher needed people to come from outside and the council have to be “flexible.”
Cllr Enda Stenson mentioned Aughavas and Tarmon. Both parishes were featured in last week's Leitrim Observer looking for families from outside the county to come and make their schools and communities viable.
Both rural areas have campaigns to promote their locality to families in Dublin and internationally. They need young families to enrol in their schools to keep numbers high enough to maintain teachers and to essentially prevent closure. Cllr Stenson said “new families have to be welcomed.”


Cllr Padraig Fallon commenting on the plight of rural areas said the council needs to look at their rural resettlement programme.
Cllr Des Guckian said his motion referred to Carrick Town and he supports the efforts of Kiltyclogher and other rural areas to invite new people to live there.


There was praise for Leitrim County Council's Housing Department and the “massive increase in work load” they are dealing with.
Kinlough representative Cllr Justin Warnock said he supported families moving to Leitrim but asked that greater interaction take place between local authorities in relation to individuals on numerous housing lists.
He added some areas “need new people to come, we need them to survive.”
The issue of falling numbers in Aughavas and Tarmon arose once again at Monday's council meeting when Cllr Warnock demanded a speedy solution to the issue of one-off houses and the “decade long blockade on planning” in the county.
Cllr Warnock commented “we need people living here, not trees.” He went on to say “trees don't keep communities and businesses alive.”


Cllr Sean McDermott said people do want to come back to their native county but can't build here.
Also relating to the decline in young families living in rural parts of Leitrim, Cllr Sean McGowan called on Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine to designate all of County Leitrim as a Disadvantaged Area for the purpose of Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme payments from 2019. Cllr McGowan put forward that this compensation could help farmers to stay on the land and could cut out the increasing sell-out to forestry. Cllr McGowan received overwhelming support from fellow councillors.

Read: Aughavas Community Calling

"Tarmon Matters" campaign battles against the odds


 Next week the Leitrim Observer will feature the up to date planning situation in the county and the efforts being made to allow one-off rural housing.