Ireland is largely unique in Europe in that it continues to promote a highly dispersed rural settlement pattern. This housing has, for the most part, no economic connection to its rural hinterland but is largely super low density ex-urban sprawl around towns and cities. This is despite all other national planning policy which aims to do precisely the opposite.
There is a general perception that there are no opportunity costs associated with one-off rural housing and consequently who could be against it? However, it is now evident that the cumulative impact of Ireland’s approach to rural housing policy is having significant adverse social, economic and environmental impacts on Irish society, particularly for rural communities.
Ireland’s clientilist political system consistently drives a debate on rural settlement policy which is highly emotive and framed within the narrow context of private property rights. Alternative perspectives are widely dismissed and arbitrarily rebuked as anti-rural.
This blog aims to maintain that alternative perspective.