Gaeltacht house is not ring-fenced by restrictions

IT’S a steep drop from €550,000 to €399,000, but that’s the way to get buyers going in the present market.

Barely a year old, this two-storey dormer at Mweelnahorna, Ring, comes in great condition and as the brochure says, there are no Irish restrictions on the sale.

This refers to its location in the heart of the west Waterford Gaeltacht of An Rinn, where the right to build is ring-fenced by exclusion clauses, such as being a native speaker.

The European Commission has ruled that such locals-only clauses are discriminatory on the basis of Articles 43 and 56 of the EC treaty. These guarantee the freedom of establishment of business and the free movement of capital throughout the EU.

Following the ruling a directive from Government to local authorities sought to permit business people, who have no local connections to a rural area, to build one-off houses.

However, the catch is that they have to run such businesses from their home.

The Irish Rural Dwellers Association see this as a bit of a white-wash and say the directive is riddled with defects.

“This new directive is open to such wide interpretation from planners that it is hard to see the benefit flowing from this for non-locals,” said Jim Connolly, the association’s spokesman.

“This directive was written by planners for planners and the results for rural dwellers will be precisely the same.”

The directive from the Department of the Environment also advises standardising rural housing occupancy clauses to seven years.

This means that a house in a restricted area cannot be sold or disposed of within that period.

This doesn’t apply to the Mweelnahorna house, which means those from outside the area can buy freely.

The house has views over the Comeraghs, Dungarvan Bay and Helvick Head, and is set on three-quarters of an acre of ground. Shops, schools and other amenities are a walk away and while the house has good privacy, it’s not isolated. The surrounding area is quite residential, say the agents, Sherry FitzGerald Reynolds.

A cool contemporary interior, (including glossy black kitchen units) and a little more than 2,000 sq ft of space makes this property ideal as a first or second or even holiday home.

It comes with four bedrooms, two are en suite, a two receptions and a big kitchen/ diner, along with two bathrooms and a utility.

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