Re: Re: Irish Rural Dwellers Association

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At the risk of adding fat to this fire…not knowing very much about the IRDA I googled them and found this on the net from the Western People (dated 20/08/2003).

The Irish Rural Dwellers Association was formed a year ago in order to safeguard people’s rights who have been refused planning permission in rural areas in this country.
It has been found that at a stroke of a pen vast areas of very valuable land in rural areas and villages have had value of such property reduced to nil and that even family members cannot get planning permission on their own land while housing and hotels can be built on The Ridge Pool in Ballina or on the Garavogue in Sligo.
Inside the year they have done quite a lot of research and have come up with interesting facts and have issued a press release on the matter.

The Irish Rural Dwellers Association established a year ago to unite rural people in the face of mounting pressures on the future of rural communities, have exposed what may well be the main cause of refusals for houses in the open countryside and corresponding pressures to move people into towns and villages. Reaction against the entire planning regime as if affects rural houses is countrywide and large turnouts at IRDA meetings reflect the hurt, frustration and anger of ordinary people who can’t build houses for their families – often on family owned land.
“The planning regime is undemocratic, anti-people and out of control” says a spokesman for the IRDA. “A root and branch change is now essential including radical legislative change”.
Pointing out that the traditional Irish housing pattern based on the townland (baile fearann) stretching back thousands of years which is uniquely different from England and mainland Europe, has become almost entirely dominated by an English planning philosophy, the spokesman said that the IRDA are determined to see control of planning policy brought back to elected Irish politicians.
Until recently, Town Planners educated in Ireland graduated without any rural qualification. Available journals and planning literature are predominately English. Most graduates are accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) in London. In addition, many Irish planners received their education in colleges in England.
Speaking at a public meeting in Macroom on June 23rd Kieran Lynch, ex senior planning executive and consultant lecturer, agreed with Jim Connolly of the IRDA, that the Irish Planning regime is UK influenced. “We have failed to produce an Irish planning philosophy so far” he said.
In An Bord Pleanala’s annual report for 2001, the Chairman John O’Connor states that the majority of extra resources (including 50 planners) brought in to cope with the increased workload are UK based.
As well, the RTPI have set up an Irish Planning Policy Panel with an office in Clare. A discussion paper published in July 2002 is intended to influence Irish Planning Policy. The RTPI have only three regional branches worldwide i.e. Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. When asked the reason for their Irish Planning Policy (they have no other such panel outside Ireland) a spokespersonf or the RTPI in London said “because of the long historical links between England and Ireland, because they don’t really consider Ireland to be ‘abroad’ and because they have so much members working in planning authorities in Ireland”.
“This is not a case of Brit bashing – The IRDA would be equally opposed to an alien planning philosophy being imposed on the Irish people from Germany, France or any other country” the spokesman said.
Individual planners have huge powers of personal discretion in recommending permission or refusal for houses. Inconsistencies abound everywhere. Concern for Irish culture and traditional rural community life is completely ignored in the current regime. It is further largely undermined by an influx of planners from many other countries around the world who make decisions in Ireland without any understanding of Irish traditions and without being obliged by the D.O.E. to do any course whatsoever in Irish history or related subjects before being allowed to practise here.
“The IRDA believe it is a small wonder that rural people and people wanting to live there are suffering, frustrated, angry and demanding change. They have lost all respect for planning authorities and see them as the successors of the landlords who tried to depopulate Ireland in the 19th Century.
“It is a very serious matter for democracy when people lose respect for institutions of the State or state sponsored private bodies like An Taisce. These institutions cannot function in the long term in any democracy without the respect and support of the tax payers who pay their wages.
The IRDA are running a conference on ‘Positive Planning for houses in the Open Countryside and Vibrant Rural Communities’ in Caherciveen on the 3rd and 4th of October. Details are available at 065-9058229.

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