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A 3,500 increase in population is envisaged for the Shannon/Limerick area, but projections for north and west Clare are light, say councillors.

Clare being left behind in population targets, say councillors

CLARE’S Oireachtas members have been urged to lobby for a dramatic change in the allocation of population growth for the county compared to other counties and cities along the West coast, writes Dan Danaher.

Under the National Planning Framework, Councillor Joe Killeen said Cork City is to grow by 105,000, Galway City is expected to increase by 45,000, Limerick City is set to attract an extra 35,000 to 40,000 inhabitants, while Clare’s population is expected to jump from 119,000 to 130,000.

With Ennis projected to grow from 25,000 to 35,000 under the Ennis 2040 plan, and a 3,500 increase planned for the Limerick/Shannon Metropolitian area, Councillor Killeen told a council meeting on Monday there isn’t a huge population growth planned for West Clare, North Clare and North East Clare.

He claimed people living in some parts of the county were effectively paying the price because they couldn’t afford to secure new homes in tourist hot spots.

“We are delighted we have people remote working and working in remote working hubs. But there is a difficulty for these people because accommodation is expensive and scarce, which is causing an increase in house prices.”

He believes a new rural housing plan should be drawn up, more residential land could be zoned and additional serviced land could be provided in towns and villages.

He proposed Clare’s Oireachtas members could lobby for a change in the National Planning Framework to increase population targets for Clare, and urged councillors to forward their views on this issue to Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien.

Councillor Joe Garrihy stressed this issue is a core issue for the sustainability of rural parts of Clare.

“We call on Clare County Council, our Oireachtas Members and other relevant agencies to address the imbalance in the allocation of population in the National Planning Framework, and the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy between Metropolitan Areas and Rural Areas in the Galway, Limerick Clare area,” said Councillor Garrrihy.

Director of service, Liam Conneally said under national planning guidelines Clare has been given a limited population increase for a county that has increased significant growth in its residents since 1990.

He outlined the council has to be consistent with national and regional planning guidelines and acknowledged the current targets are limiting what the local authority can earmark for residential zoning in settlements.

“We would welcome any representations from the chamber to the government. We will take on board any increase in population targets we are given. We will distribute it throughout the county in conjunction with input from councillors,” said Mr Conneally.

“The Planning Authority has developed a core strategy in the pre-draft County Development Plan currently with the members for consideration in accordance with national and
regional planning policy, legislative requirements and in line with relevant guidelines.

“Any imbalance in population growth/housing supply must first be addressed at a national government level, and any revised figures can then be filtered through the regional assemblies to local authorities and into the relevant statutory development plans.”

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