A North Leitrim councillor says many towns and villages in the county could be ‘transformed’ if unused or delapidated buildings within them were renovated and made available for people to live in.
Fine Gael Councillor Sean McDermott told yesterday’s Manorhamilton Municipal District meeting of Leitrim County Council that this had been part of the government’s Action Plan for Housing launched last year.
Cllr McDermott called on the council to explore this further in an effort to stablilise the population of villages such as Kiltyclogher, where there’s concern about holding onto the second teacher in its national school due to the low number of pupils.
Such is the concern about the falling population in parts of Leitrim that one councillor, Sinn Fein’s Padraig Fallon, has called for the county to have its own Rural Resettlement Porgramme.
However, Cllr McDermott claims that in many towns and villages, more houses are not what’s needed.
Rather, he says there are unoccupied buildings already there — and for sale in some cases — that could be renovated for people to live in.
He says that years ago when people came to Kiltyclogher, the council built houses for them.
But he says there are now properties for sale in Kiltyclogher that are not expensive.
and two or three houses could be provided in the centre of the village, which would ‘mean a lot.’
However, councillors were told the council examined a number of properties in Kiltyclogher for use as family-type homes.
They were not suitable as they were old and needed very significant work.
The meeting also heard the main area of housing need in the northern area of the county is Manorhamilton and this is where the council is focussing in the short-term in relation to building.
But Cllr McDermott says there’s the possibility within some villages themselves to do something to try to increase their population.