Call to expand derelict homes scheme to rural areas

THE Croí Cónaithe derelict/vacant homes scheme should be expanded to include properties in rural areas.

The grant aid to return a derelict or vacant property back into use is limited to towns and villages with a population of more than 400 people.

Independent Councillor Mark Duffy wants the Minister for Housing to broaden the scheme so all areas in Mayo are included. His call received the full support of his colleagues at the monthly meeting of Mayo County Council.

There are vacant farmhouses and cottages and we need to get life back into them, said Councillor Duffy.

"It would be a good news story for rural Ireland if the scheme were broadened," he commented.

His motion was seconded by Councillor John Caulfield who said there is huge interest in the scheme in the towns, but there are a large number of rural houses that could be brought back into use if it were extended.

Extending it is 'a must', said Councillor Sean Carey, noting how it would boost rural schools and communities.

Councillor Ger Deere said he had been contacted by at least four young couples who wanted to move back to the country and who were disappointed to learn they could not avail of this scheme.

It would rebuild communities, and he suggested the motion be circulated to every other county council in the country and also to the Oireachtas members.