THE success of an amalgamated GAA club, near Caherciveen, Co Kerry, was yesterday highlighted as an example of what can be achieved in the battle against rural depopulation.
St Michael’s/Foilmore, formed some years ago by two clubs whose numbers were dropping, won the All-Ireland Intermediate Football Championship.
Former GAA president Sean Kelly said the club’s achievement should give encouragement to many other communities suffering from depopulation.
“If communities have the will and the imagination to overcome obstacles, they can be successful not only in sport, but also in many areas of life,” he told the Irish Rural Dwellers Association conference (IRDA).
MEP hopeful Mr Kelly also called for an easing of planning restrictions to allow people build houses for themselves in rural areas.
“I also think there are too many inconsistencies, at present, with decisions varying from place to place and planner to planner,” he said.
Senator Ann Ormonde told the conference that a planning template (‘one rule for all’) invariably failed.
“The template envisages people being hounded to cities, towns and villages and refuses to acknowledge Ireland’s position on dispersed rural housing. We need a more flexible regime to deal with applications for houses in rural areas.”
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