The interim chairperson of the Land Development Agency, John Moran has said there needs to be more focus on community development to solve the problem of the growing number of vacant homes in rural towns.
Mr Moran, who is also chairperson of Liveable Limerick, toldsaid it was not just a question of doing the right thing, but of not doing the wrong thing.
“Each little village and town has to decide their own development model that suits their needs.
“We need to focus on community to do that.”
The debate on the number of vacant homes across the country had “moved on” in recent years. It was no longer Groundhog Day, he said.
There needs to be renewed focus on finding new ways to reuse existing buildings and to find solutions.
Rural Ireland presents certain problems, he added. It means being more ambitious about the designing and planning of suburbia, a focus on where people want to live.
Mr Moran called for a focus on getting people who live in small villages and towns to use public transport to get into larger towns where they work. This was important, he said. Not every one can live on Main Street, he added.
Older people may prefer to move into the centre of towns for security and community reasons which would mean larger homes would be available in the suburbs for families.