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Chairperson of Clare Macra, Caitríona Power. Photograph by John Kelly

Drastic changes needed to secure the future viability of rural Clare

Rural Clare is on the verge of collapse and, unless urgent action is taken, the current generation of rural Clare people will be the last one raised outside of towns and cities.
That is the message that Clare Macra will be presenting to politicians this Friday night at a special lobbying event which takes place in Ennis.
The Chairperson of Clare Macra, Caitríona Power, says that the difficulty of securing a home in rural Ireland is driving young people away and scores of Clare Macra members have been forced to emigrate in recent years.
“There are a lot of things which are forcing young people to move into towns and cities or to go abroad. Rural Ireland is dead really. Our members say that Macra is the only social outlet available to them,” she told The Clare Champion.
“One of our members was looking to rent an apartment in Limerick City and it was €1,000 a month. That was only rent, how would he pay for electricity and food on top of that.
“Everything has gone crazy, and that is pushing people out of rural Ireland.
“The amount of members that we have lost from Clare Macra to Australia and Canada and places like that is ridiculous. It’s unbelievable.”
Obtaining secure housing has been identified as the main challenge faced by young people in rural Clare.
While the cost of buying or building a property has increased massively in recent years, difficulties around securing planning permission is also forcing some people to look abroad for their future.
“Housing is a massive thing for young people in rural Ireland. One members said that the way things are going, she will probably be living at home until she is 40, because it is just not possible to buy a house,” said Ms Power.
“Even planning permission. You could have a site at home but trying to get planning permission on that is impossible. Concrete went up 8% last week, insulation went up 9%, I don’t know what is going to happen to be honest with you.”
A number of Clare politicians including Deputies Cathal Crowe (FF) and Michael McNamara (Lab), Senators Timmy Dooley (FF), Roisín Garvey (GP) and Martin Conway (FG) as well as European Parliament candidate, Eddie Punch, have confirmed that they will attend the Macra lobbying event.
The Clare Macra event will take place on Friday, April 26, at 8pm at Fahy Hall.
“We are giving out enough about all of these issues so we thought that the best thing to do is let our voice do something and hopefully be heard,” said Ms Power.
“We want to politicians to hear us and bring our message to someone who can do something about it. With the way things are going, there is going to be no young people left in rural Clare in another few years.
“Members have been listing out all the issues that they have with rural Ireland, problems with housing, healthcare.
“One girl said that she tried to get a GP appointment and the next appointment isn’t for six weeks’ time.
“We decided the best thing to do was to gather the politicians together and tell them about what troubles we have and the challenges that are faced by young people living in Ireland.”

About Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton is a journalist, writer and podcaster based in the west of Ireland.

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