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Sinn Féin welcomes draft guidelines on rural housing

5 March, 2004

Sinn Féin's Spokesperson on Rural Development, Martin Ferris TD and Spokesperson on the Environment and Housing, Arthur Morgan TD, have welcomed today's publication of new guidelines for rural housing. The guidelines are meant to provide the basis of a more flexible and consistent policy in place of the current situation where many rural dwellers find it impossible to secure planning permission.

Deputies Morgan and Ferris said:

"We welcome the publication of the guidelines as a step towards tackling the crisis in rural housing. Both of us have raised this issue in the Dáil and our Councillors are confronted on a daily basis with the problems faced by people attempting to build so-called 'once-off housing'.

"We hope that the guidelines will become the basis for a planning policy that favours those who live in rural communities. That would certainly appear to be the intent and we will watch with interest how this is interpreted. Some of the guidelines - such as the one on occupancy - are simply common sense and similar to what Sinn Féin has urged. Likewise, there are proposals regarding the building of holiday homes, which we hope will be interpreted in a manner that ensures a proper balance between the needs of local people and those who wish to holiday in rural areas.

"Finally, we hope that this document will be widely discussed by all who have an interest in rural communities and that it becomes the basis for a wide-ranging debate and consultation process at local authority level, prior to the new guidelines being implemented." ENDS

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