Island dwellers to get extra grants to renovate vacant homes

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Grant changes to come as part of Government’s new national islands policy, the first in 27 years

Ireland News, Ireland Headlines

A key part of the plan agreed by Ms Humphreys and Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien will see major changes to the vacant property grant scheme, also known as Croí Cónaithe. In addition to the grants, vacant home officers will be hired to identify vacant and derelict properties on the islands in a bid to meet local housing demand.

It is understood that rural planning guidelines will be revised in the coming weeks amid complaints from island communities about difficulties in securing planning permission for housing. Sources say the finer details are still under consideration, but that the aim is to make it easier to build in island areas.

There will also be a focus on the delivery of high-speed broadband to island-based schools and digital hubs.Communities have asked for further investment in infrastructure, such as piers and roads, and this demand will be addressed in the plan alongside new waste management arrangements. “It’s all about improving services in housing, health and education, delivering high-speed broadband, and further developing our outdoor amenities, which will in turn increase tourism,” Ms Humphreys said.“It’s about ensuring our islands have proper infrastructure in terms of water, roads and piers.

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