Comhdháil Oileáin na hÉireann, the Irish Islands Federation comprising of representatives from the offshore islands, has launched a report on the housing needs on the offshore islands on the 22nd of November 2023 in Leinster House. The full report is available through the link below.
Key points from the survey include:
- Full-time residents want to remain living on the islands, and there is a clear cohort of people wishing to return to, or move to the islands for the first time.
- Availability and affordability of housing are the most significant issues identified by the survey respondents wishing to remain on, or move to, the offshore islands.
- 79% of renter respondents stated they are likely to move in the next 5 years. Although most want to remain living on the offshore islands, they say that lack of affordable housing to buy, lack of long-term rental accommodation and tenure insecurity make this very challenging.
- The lack of affordable property for sale and inability to obtain planning permission were identified by former island residents as issues potentially impacting their ability to return to the islands to live.
- There is very strong support from the respondents for developing schemes and range of housing options to enable younger generations and full-time residents to remain on, or move to, the islands.
Galway region islands accounted for 44% of the respondents to the survey.
The report sets out several recommendations, including:
- Setting up an Island Specific Housing Task Force and Action plan, including setting targets related to housing that are specific to individual islands and island regions.
- Setting up a Community-Led Housing Association or an Approved Housing Body that would address affordable, gateway, and sheltered housing options for full-time residents and essential workers.
- For the islands voices to be heard in the National Policy Formation on Planning Guidelines as well as regarding Planning Processes and Statistics, including exploring the potential for extending ‘priority area plans’ and ‘joint action plans’ to include non-urban areas that are disadvantaged due to remoteness and peripherality, including offshore islands.
- Input to the National Policy Implementation on Vacant Homes through collaboration with Vacant Home Officers and a reactivation programme.
- Ongoing Research and Community Engagement on action plans and targets set for the offshore islands.
The study funded by Comhdháil was carried out by University College Cork.
Comhdháil Oileáin na hÉireann would urge all political parties to get familiar with this study and to include housing on offshore islands into their political program.
Download the full report: UCC Housing on the Irish Offshore Islands final proof.
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