Why are there so many one-off junkies suddenly visiting this site???

Home Forums Ireland Why are there so many one-off junkies suddenly visiting this site???

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    • #708709
      hutton
      Participant

      Over the last week, a number of posts have been put up by people who have never visited this site before. 3 in the one week are asking questions about one-offs; a certain amount may be of interest – such as the thread by Penny on Meath, but it seems that the same debate is cropping up under new thread titles.
      It is getting tiresome as this forum used to be good on focusing on architecture and planning – not as a forum for the Irish Rural Developers Assoc, which it seems to have become:mad: .
      Needlesss to say, the newbies are not even bothering to use the search facility on the site but instead are posting one-off threads!!!
      What has happened? Paul, have you been advertising archiseek in the back of Bungalow Bliss? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
      Okay, rant over; any thoughts?

    • #778355
      urbanisto
      Participant

      I agree hutton. I think the site has probably just gotten a name as a good source of planning info. Thank the power of Google rather than Bungalow Bliss. Personally, I think the posts about planning permission should be sent to Planning Matters, where they can be answered if anyone is minded too. As a future planner I suppose I should take an avid interest but the whole one-off debate just leaves me wanting to stiffle a great big yawn.

    • #778356
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @hutton wrote:

      one-off threads!!!

      Brilliant analogy.

      Anyway, I tend to ignore these threads as I am very suspicious of people having either a; multiple identities, or b; coming on to this site to have a laugh and start an argument. Some of the requests seem to be so ridiculous that they must have been set up to cause trouble.

      Then of course there is the fact that people come on here seeking either architectural or planning advice from some of the professionals that use the forums only to turn around after getting this (free) advice and indicate that they have the right build whatever rubbish they want where ever they want.

    • #778357
      stifz
      Participant

      You guys are pretty ‘open’ to the whole ‘forum’ ‘discussion’ thingy eh?
      It feels like the cat caught among the hounds.

    • #778358
      -Donnacha-
      Participant

      To Hutton and StephenC:

      Considering that this flow of newbies started a week ago, it suggests that something has occurred somewhere to cause it rather than simply people using Google searches.
      Perhaps these people should be asked where they heard of this forum from and if it is from somewhere online – a website or forum, then Paul might ask that these people not be referred on.

    • #778359
      hutton
      Participant

      Bob, I dont mind if they visit the site – the more that educate themselves about planning/ environment/ architecture in this country, the better. It just began to bug me the amount of one-off posts that were being posted!

      That said, I think your right that it would be worthwhile if it was established where the new members heard of the site – not that automatically they shouldnt be referred on, but for the benefit of Paul C and how the site is run!

      H

    • #778360
      hutton
      Participant

      @stifz wrote:

      You guys are pretty ‘open’ to the whole ‘forum’ ‘discussion’ thingy eh?
      It feels like the cat caught among the hounds.

      Shouldnt that be “fox”?

      :p

    • #778361
      ctesiphon
      Participant

      A similar thing happened a few months ago, not long after the Planning sub-forum was put up. I took some time to give detailed answers to planning questions – some very basic, though all of which could be charged for if it were a consultant giving the answers – in the hopes that they’d then be useful to others who were new to the site, and to save us from having to give the same advice repeatedly. But it didn’t stop others from asking all over again. Another trend I spotted was relative newcomers starting new threads for minor details relating to queries they had posted before. Not only does it get a little tiresome, it also undermines the value of the site as a resource for info. Far better to have all the info relating to a particular topic in the one place for future reference.
      I wondered at the time whether certain planning authorities were directing callers to the site to save themselves having to deal with the queries. I’m still not convinced that it’s not happening.

      I don’t want to be too hard on the noobs- sure weren’t we all in that boat once too? Perhaps they aren’t aware of the search facility?

      Maybe Paul could consider the value of sending a stock email to new sign-ups when they register telling them about searching (and other standard features)? I know there’s an FAQ page, but it doesn’t cover all of it.

      I hope it’s all innocent and not too sinister. IP addresses aren’t hard to check, so if the IRDA is involved we’ll know easily enough.

    • #778362
      Paul Clerkin
      Keymaster

      some good suggestions there… i’ll change the welcome email to include more information

    • #778363
      Anonymous
      Participant

      It might also be useful to put a few ‘sticky’ threads at the head of the planning matters forum dealing with recurring topics such as one off’s; domestic extensions; rights to light and other recurring planning themes.

    • #778364
      stifz
      Participant

      @hutton wrote:

      Shouldnt that be “fox”?

      :p

      Get back to work:cool:

    • #778365
      Bren88
      Participant

      @Bob Dole wrote:

      To Hutton and StephenC:

      Considering that this flow of newbies started a week ago, it suggests that something has occurred somewhere to cause it rather than simply people using Google searches.
      Perhaps these people should be asked where they heard of this forum from and if it is from somewhere online – a website or forum, then Paul might ask that these people not be referred on.

      The probably cause is the fact that its the summer now and people are in the building buzz. Extensions and one-offs are a traditional summer passtime

    • #778366
      hutton
      Participant

      @Bren88 wrote:

      The probably cause is the fact that its the summer now and people are in the building buzz. Extensions and one-offs are a traditional summer passtime

      Ah ’tis the weather then…last weeks sunshine has got to peoples heads ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #778367
      singlefarmer
      Participant

      Jeez guys, this is a forum!!! noun A public meeting place for open discussion

      i think all the talk about being infiltrated and the IRDA is a little paranoid. I’m one of those one -off posters you mentioned and I had no motive other than to have a discussion. The words architect and Ireland bring up this site on page one of Google.

      Would it ever occur to you that people just come on here for advice unaware of the general distain for one-off housing among some of the members. One off housing isn’t exactly new in Ireland and despite contrary opinion and possible damage to our environment will most likely continue. Not all one off house builders are oblivious to their responsibilities to their surroundings and communities. If someone comes on here with plans for the home they want to build, live their life in and raise their family in, it might be better if forum members were to point out possible improvements/alternatives rather than being scathing and belittling as occured on a recent, now deleted, thread.

      I find all the glib mentions of McMansions trite and tiresome, perhaps architects should spend more time discussing whether it is a failure of their profession or their communication skills that so many Irish Home builders choose to build without architects, not that architects are incapable of producing monstrous designs themselves.

    • #778368
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      I admire your stance, SingleFarmer. You have made a few very legitimate points which I have been making for a while but which seem to be falling on blind eyes. I have frequently alluded to the Dublin-centric bias in Archiseek IRELAND (yes – that includes all of us) both in terms of thread content and attitude towards development that is not focussed on the capital and at a stretch the four or five regional cities. If there is an absence of appropriate architectural aestethetics in rural Ireland it is because the architectural profession has failed those it should serve – the general public. If there is a lack of proper planning in Ireland, it is because our political figures and planners have been deficient in fulfilling their duties and public responsibilities. If people favour ‘McMansions’ it is because they represent the socio-cultural desires of the Irish people at this point in time – deal with it, that is a fact however distasteful it may be to some living in red-brick apartments in Dublin. If people on this site have a problem with that then they should examine the reasons underpinning the problem as they see it and not simply and blindly castigate those who choose to fulfil their life-style dream no matter how barbaric it may appear to the eyes of a UCD educated dilettante. Such lashing out at the rural population bespeaks nothing but a biased opinion of blind ignorance and arrogance and to that end there is a genuine need for proper editorial control over the virulent remarks being made against the rural community on this web-site. If not, then lets call a spade a spade and rename the whole shebang as Archiseek – DUBLIN. Then perhaps people may not write posts on one-offs under the false expectation that they are actually making a legitimate contribution to a discussion forum on architectural issues in IRELAND as a whole.

    • #778369
      Anonymous
      Participant

      @PDLL wrote:

      I have frequently alluded to the Dublin-centric bias in Archiseek IRELAND (yes – that includes all of us) both in terms of thread content and attitude towards development that is not focussed on the capital and at a stretch the four or five regional cities.

      I think the contributors to the many Cork and more laterly Limerick and to a lesser extent Galway threads would take serious issue with this and rightly so.

    • #778370
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Would take serious issue with what exactly? That there is an obvious and undeniable Dublin-centric bias in Archiseek with a few thread dedicated to Limerick, Galway and Cork? It is an undeniable fact that the lion’s share of all threads on Archiseek Ireland are to do with developments in Dublin or, where a thread is more thematic, the lion’s share of posts are related to Dublin. This, despite the fact that 2/3 of Ireland’s population lives outside of the GDA (and presumably they live in buildings, structures, architectural edifices of some kind). Apart from the obvious numeric imbalance that is evident in scrolling through the threads on Archiseek Ireland, what is more objectionable is the systematic stigmatizing of rural people through the use of generic, degrading and loaded pejoratives such as references to the fictional IRDA. This type of sentiment should not be part of an ‘enlightened’ discussion forum and indicates nothing other than a deep-seated ignorance based upon a lack of awareness of the reality of what forms the architectural face of a nation. Lets move away from the utopian and examine reality. And what is that reality – people build McMansions because this is what they collectively find aesthetically and socially desireable. Why is that the case – because rural Irish people lack aesthetic sensibility, becuase they lack environmental awareness, because they deem it desireable to have PVC windows and mock-Georgian pillars? Who knows. To understand why the face of architecture in rural Ireland has been reduced to the McMansion is a legitimate issue worthy of further investigation, but lets stop berating those that build these houses and lets start asking them why they build them – what is it that appeals to them in these designs. If your interest is in architectural aesthetics, then that sounds like a fairly worthwhile approach to me. If, however, you simply want to isolate more than a million people by denigrating them and their LEGITIMATE expression of architectural aesthetics, then please continue with the same old pseudo-urbane ‘we-are-sooo-sophisticated’ urban vitriol that has come out of this and other threads in the past.

    • #778371
      -Donnacha-
      Participant

      I would agree with some of PDLL’s points:
      There is an aspiration of many Irish people to live in one off housing and simply criticising this rather than offering constructive alternatives is not going to change things.
      As I’m practicing for the Driving Test at the moment I’ve driven through a lot of housing estates – they really are pretty awful.
      I seem to remember a thread earlier which was started but not really continued which was dedicated to better designed housing estates etc. If noone else revives it I probably will at some stage.

    • #778372
      hutton
      Participant

      @PDLL wrote:

      If people on this site have a problem with that then they should examine the reasons …no matter how barbaric it may appear to the eyes of a UCD educated dilettante. Such lashing out at the rural population bespeaks nothing but a biased opinion of blind ignorance and arrogance and to that end there is a genuine need for proper editorial control over the virulent remarks being made against the rural community on this web-site. If not, then lets call a spade a spade and rename the whole shebang as Archiseek – DUBLIN.

      ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

      ROFL I love a good rant, so I do :p

    • #778373
      urbanisto
      Participant

      I think this topic should probably best die a death because (as usual) it is becoming marked by generalisations and misprepresentations on both sides.

      But some thoughts:

      I have frequently alluded to the Dublin-centric bias in Archiseek IRELAND (yes – that includes all of us) both in terms of thread content and attitude towards development that is not focussed on the capital and at a stretch the four or five regional cities.

      I agree with this to a point but the fact is there are just a lot more things happening in the capital – a result of our inability to properly develop regional towns and cities (with 40% one-offs being part of the bigger picture). There is as Thomnd Park mentions though plenty of debate on Cork and to a lesser extent Limerick and Galway.

      i think all the talk about being infiltrated and the IRDA is a little paranoid. I’m one of those one -off posters you mentioned and I had no motive other than to have a discussion. The words architect and Ireland bring up this site on page one of Google.

      All the talk? Or just mentioned by another poster. Also the point has been made that this topic regularly comes up for discussion and produces all sort of opinions and very little consensus. Thats the nature of this debate. There is no elite group on Archiseek who are looking to force their opinions on the god-fearing folk of rural Ireland. There is just debate, an exchange of opinions. Some contributors post regularly, some only once or twice (6 times in your case). The point about new posrts is that people are joining simply to get a bit of advice, not to contribute their thoughts regularly. Its not a problem, its just annoying when it is the same or similar questions being posed. This has been debated and dealt with by encouraging use of the SEARCH facility. IMO- I dont find people are generally disparaged on the site and many contributors will point out the importance of hiring a good architect and following best planning practice. The fact about McMansions is that many people choose NOT to hire architects. They simple choose the easiest and cheapest option and in too many cases the Govt and planning authorities do little enough to discourage this, like making it less expensive to obtain a well designed house, like offering clearer guidelines on best practice, like not engaging in shortterm politics regarding sustainable rural development.

      however distasteful it may be to some living in red-brick apartments in Dublin

      See! Generalisation. For the record I live with my parents in a former council house. I cant afford my own place. The market has priced me out. I do not have the benefit of ‘an attachment to the land’ excuse to help me buy one or more homes. I will admit to being a member of An Taisce (another favoured generalisation), but I imagine there are a handful of such members on the boards.

      If there is an absence of appropriate architectural aestethetics in rural Ireland it is because the architectural profession has failed those it should serve – the general public. If there is a lack of proper planning in Ireland, it is because our political figures and planners have been deficient in fulfilling their duties and public responsibilities. If people favour ‘McMansions’ it is because they represent the socio-cultural desires of the Irish people at this point in time – deal with it, that is a fact however distasteful it may be to some living in red-brick apartments in Dublin. If people on this site have a problem with that then they should examine the reasons underpinning the problem as they see it and not simply and blindly castigate those who choose to fulfil their life-style dream no matter how barbaric it may appear to the eyes of a UCD educated dilettante.

      There is a contradiction in what you say here PDLL. On the one hand you want greater architectural and planning input into rural development and yet on the other you seem defend people building without that input., Personally I find this doublespeak the most irritating facet of the whole rural development debate. Everyone wants to have their cake and eat it.

      All in all this remains one of the most contentious items on the boards and in Irish society in general.

    • #778374
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Bob Dole,

      some examples of what you are looking for have recently been discussed on the ‘Any New Streets’ thread. https://archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?p=52931#post52931

      With regards some of the points raised by PDLL, I think it is fair to ask why certain forms are so popular, instead of automatically bashing the posters for posting about them.

      With regards to the Dublin bias on the site, I must say that I have often been suprised as to why there is only one active thread devoted to Cork (for example), as oppossed to various threads dealing with seperate areas, or individual buildings. I would like to see this happen more as some of the city specific threads can be difficult to follow given the amount of information on them.

    • #778375
      hutton
      Participant

      BTW Just to clarify, my original point was the futility of one-off threads dealing with the same issue, in this case one-off houses – that was my bugbear!

      For those who have confused the criticism of repeatedly starting the same thread with any particular position on one-offs, if they were to check they might find that I also posted the following on the thread on one-offs in Meath –

      @hutton wrote:

      However if you are planning to work in the countryside, and will look into building sustainably (ie no leaking septic tanks to begin with ) and are looking into incorporating the abode into the topography etc, thats a different story.

      It might be worth looking at using materials other than concrete for construction, wood, wattle, or straw – a lot less environmental impact, and much better thermal values. Also have a look at geo-thermal heating units etc.

      A tip of genuine advice, if you are pursuing this route, have a look at the Green Building Handbook.
      [https://archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?t=4991%5D

      Was such advice really a total anti-rural perspective? Me don’t think so…

    • #778376
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      You are right, Hutton. It wasn’t anti-rural. It is, however, a good case in point. Your suggestion to build with non-concrete materials (wood wattle etc) basically implies that if one wishes to live in the countryside then one should build a structure based on natural materials and, as such materials are not the stuff of standard house design in contemporary Ireland, one should employ an architect to design the structure. Fair enough. What this does not take into account are the economics of the issue. It implies basically that only those able to afford an architect-designed house should be able to live in the countryside. Only those who are able to have a house designed in such a manner that it would look good on the cover of House&Garden should get permission to build in the rural landscape. Its a nice ideal but it is based on a very bourgeois concept of architectural aesthetics. It is the equivalent of a farmer saying that if you wish to live in Dublin, then you should design your house using cut stone taken from a local quarry, use natural wooden windows carved by a professional craftsman, and so on. This is what I mean about architectural utopianism. We don’t live in such a world, either in rural Mayo or in Donnybrook. We live in the world of economic reality so if rural dwellers have to dig very deep into their pockets in order to keep the countryside looking pristine and virginal, then city-people should be equally compelled to dig deep into their pockets in order to preserve the pristine and historic character of Dublin. So lets stop building cheap crappy quality urben apartment buildings – lets build only cut-stone buildings that are historically sensitive to our urban historical landscapes. For example, all buildings in the Woodquay area of Dublin should be built of wattle in keeping with the historic nature of the location. We could have four storey high wattle apartment buildings. Why not – surely our urban counterparts should be compelled to the same rigid concept of environmental sensitivity as our rural cousins.

    • #778377
      hutton
      Participant

      In fairness PDLL, thats twisting my suggestion somewhat, as first-off it is my own belief that we should try to apply the measure of sustainability to urban construction as to rural building, and here I declare an interest. At present I have some periphery involvement with a city-centre apartment scheme in which certain meaures are being incorporated into the design, such as gray-water recycling, passive solar panels etc.

      Second-off, while I dont believe that one-off eco-houses are the complete panacea for all ills, they are of less impact to the environment – and generally tend to actually cost less. To be honest, I wouldnt have an objection to the use of a pattern-book for basic design ideas – provided 1) it uses sustainability as a basic criteria, and 2)architectural advice is sought as to how best apply such a design to a specific site… Now thats probably going to get up both the would-be builders and architects’ noses ๐Ÿ˜€

    • #778378
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      You make an excellent suggestion here, Hutton, and one which I would expect would spark great interest among those architects particularly concerned with the downfall of the utopian countryside. Would it not be a good idea for the architects concerned with architectural design issues in the countryside to get together and prepare an off-the-shelf book of house plans and designs that are based on environmentally sound best-practices. It could be sold in book stores throughout the country for say 20 euros and would surely act as the best way to stymie the spread of off-the-shelf McMansion plans. Of course, this would mean that those architects concerned would have to put the preservation of the environment and architectural aesthetics before their own bank balances but it is obvious from the contributions to the one-off threads that sentiment is so strong on the issue that their own personal finances should hardly be a detracting factor. This really is a wonderful idea and probably the most effective way of bringing back Ireland’s countryside from the brink of the abyss. I would expect that a number of architects would be willing to sell their best environmentally-sustainable house plans for a reasonable fee for widespread dissemination for the greater good of the countryside. Fantastic – so lets have some public contributions straight away – if there is any architect out their who has recently berated the rural population for their lack of imagination and bad taste, they could post some of their detailed plans on the website straight away – no need to dally now….

    • #778379
      ctesiphon
      Participant

      @PDLL wrote:

      what is more objectionable is the systematic stigmatizing of rural people through the use of generic, degrading and loaded pejoratives such as references to the fictional IRDA.

      Fictional?
      http://bookshop.blackwell.co.uk/jsp/welcome.jsp?action=search&source=3266474136&type=isbn&term=0954792602

      Also, it’s interesting how you highlight the so-called Dublin anti-rural generalisations by making sweeping rural anti-Dublin generalisations.

      Also, perhaps the reason for a preponderance of posts relating to Dublin (relative to the national population) is because there are more architecturally-aware / environmentally-conscious / call-it-what-you-want people in Dublin. It would certainly explain much about the quality of so many single rural dwellings.

      Also…

      Aah what’s the feckin’ point. Your arguments are so riddled with logical inconsistencies that it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Deliberate? Perhaps. I’m not going to lower myself to it, thanks.

    • #778380
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @ctesiphon wrote:

      Fictional?
      http://bookshop.blackwell.co.uk/jsp/welcome.jsp?action=search&source=3266474136&type=isbn&term=0954792602

      Also, it’s interesting how you highlight the so-called Dublin anti-rural generalisations by making sweeping rural anti-Dublin generalisations. .

      Glad to see you know ho wannoying generalizations are – its unfortunate hat I am lowered to using them to get you to see that, but it seems that sometimes you have to fight fire with fire.

      @ctesiphon wrote:

      Also, perhaps the reason for a preponderance of posts relating to Dublin (relative to the national population) is because there are more architecturally-aware / environmentally-conscious / call-it-what-you-want people in Dublin. .

      Was that a joke?

      @ctesiphon wrote:

      Your arguments are so riddled with logical inconsistencies that it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Deliberate? Perhaps. I’m not going to lower myself to it, thanks.

      Better to have an argument with the odd logical inconsistency in it (no doubt the result of not having time to spend 4 hours analysing each sentence) than conceal the lack of an intelligent response through an over-wrought haughty response more appropriate to a theatrical sketch depicting a drama-queen suffering from an odd sense of neurotic self-superiority.

    • #778381
      Frank Taylor
      Participant

      IRDA’s web site:
      http://www.irishruraldwellersassociation.com/

      Speech from Minister O’Cuรƒยญv extolling the virtues of one-off housing
      http://www.pobail.ie/en/MinistersSpeeches/2003/October/htmltext,3857,en.html

      Guidelines from Minister Roche advocating isolated rural housing development.
      http://www.environ.ie/DOEI/DOEIPol.nsf/0/1829f4edf25b12b380256f5d004dd108/$FILE/Final%20Version%20of%20Rural%20Planning%20Guidelines%2013%205%2005.pdf

      Promotion of one-off housing development is government policy and supported by a majority of TDs

      80% of one-off planning applications are approved.

    • #778382
      Anonymous
      Participant

      The Bosman ruling has nothing on Roche’s interpretation of the NSS on ‘rural origin’

    • #778383
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Still doesn’t answer the basic question – why do people want to build these houses? What is their aesthetic/social appeal? What is their relationship to Irish cultural traditions (there has to be some relationship – even if not a positive one); what can be done to give people real alternatives; what are architects doing to alleviate the problem (other than just bitching about it and berating rural people). These are interesting questions and lie at the heart of the whole discussion but as I have commented before, nobody is either willing or able to take them up and examine them. Its easier just to slap a few people such as Single Farmer over the head and then run away without even attempting to really analyse the situation.

    • #778384
      Anonymous
      Participant

      Mostly because they can’t afford a 2000 sq foot house on an acre within the development boundary; there are exceptions but those actively involved in rural areas have generally never had problems unless the proposal was poorly sited in an SAC area of outstanding natural beauty.

      PDDL

      How do you account for

      Real Estate Alliance Chairman, Eddie Barrett says that the 1,500 new jobs being created in Carrick-on-Shannon is also increasing demand for new property in the region. He also called for a review of planning restrictions to ensure more rural sites became available for those civil servants who are moving to rural areas as a result of decentralisation.

    • #778385
      singlefarmer
      Participant

      I think that it is worth looking at the reasons so many people choose to build houses without the assistance of architects. An increased input from architects should lead to an improvement in rural house design. I have recently hired an architect to design my one off rural house and I am hopeful that he will help me build a good home that enhances my quality of life, is sustainable and respects its environment. It was hard work! I talked to a number of Architects before choosing one;

      I was amazed how many practices had no website. In this day and age almost every business bar your local corner shop has a website. I found it hard to believe that so many highly trained, computer literate profssionals providing a high cost service didn’t bother to advertise their work/business.

      A number of architects didn’t bother to return my initial enquiries.

      A number of architects who had done one off housing in the past said that they now didn’t have the time for such designs.. a result of the Celtic Tiger growth I guess

      Some of the architects I met were excellent talkers but very poor listeners

      The build costs suggested by a number of the architects were totally at odds with the typical house bulid costs in my area. I felt that this lack of knowledge would cost me when it the time came to tender for the build. Some local builders I know have dollar signs in their eyes at the mention of an architect.

      Some if the architects were all in favour of under floor heating, solar power etc. as i am myself, but many of them were a lot quieter when I mentioned u values and returns on investment for these types of energy

      I suggested the possibility of engaging an architect to design the house but not be involved in the build tendering process and the build itself to reduce my costs. Three architects refused to consider this option.

      Of course these are all personal observations of a small sample, i do not wish to generalise.

      Having looked at the very restrictive planning guidelines in place in Co. Clare I can see why many people choose not to hire an architect. A one and a half storey house with a stone porch will get planning permission nine times out of ten, going down the road of innovative design can lead to expense and headaches that your average home builder can do without.

      Obviously it’s up to architects to run their business as they see fit but I think it would be of great benefit to the rural environment if architects were to come up with creative solutions for rural house builders and were more proactive in selling their services. If you are sick you go to a doctor, if you need legal advice you go to a solicitor, roll on the day when a person building a house automatically goes to an arcitect.

    • #778386
      singlefarmer
      Participant

      @Frank Taylor wrote:

      80% of one-off planning applications are approved.

      In many cases because of numerous pre-planning meeting and or a number of further information requests which this statistic above does not reflect

    • #778387
      Anonymous
      Participant

      An application contains one fee and is either granted or refused the statistic therefore can be taken at face value

      What are the comparable rates nationally within the development boundary?

    • #778388
      ctesiphon
      Participant

      @PDLL wrote:

      Better to have an argument with the odd logical inconsistency in it (no doubt the result of not having time to spend 4 hours analysing each sentence) than conceal the lack of an intelligent response through an over-wrought haughty response more appropriate to a theatrical sketch depicting a drama-queen suffering from an odd sense of neurotic self-superiority.

      Intelligent questions get intelligent responses.
      Trolls get short shrift.

      Interesting tactic to admit that your arguments are fallacious, then to defend them by attacking a response you characterise as over-wrought. Almost sounds like the ‘It may be ugly, but at least I’m not a ponce’ defence many builders of single rural dwellings use in the face of legitimate architectural/environmental criticism. Oh hang on… That almost sounds like consistency. Was it deliberate?

      As for taking time to consider responses- I’ve been working hard all day and haven’t had the time to measure my words carefully, as you seem to think. Do they seem measured? Probably just a sign of me having digested all of the issues at hand over a number of years, both in the hallowed halls of UCD and at the planning coalface.
      You, however, had the time to post at 11.01 am, 11.28 am, 12.09 pm, 12.52 pm, 1.34 pm and 1.59 pm. If you posted fewer replies and thought your answers through a bit more, this might be a debate worth having (again, and again, and again…). But it’d probably be a bit less fun.

      PS What’s self-superiority?

      PPS singlefarmer- You make some interesting points there regarding the architectural profession, many of which I agree with, particularly the “excellent talkers but very poor listeners” one.

    • #778389
      GrahamH
      Participant

      This debate is very tired so there’s no point in entering it on any form of rural vs urban level.

      With regard to why such poor design standards are generally adhered to in one-off dwellings is largely because of one simple and entirely acceptable reason – a lack of interest in architecture. It sounds obvious, but why should we have a built environment design-conscious society?! Just as in the clothing fashion world, there are Archiseek equivalents going around with their heads in their hands at way we dress ourselves every day (not to cast any aspirations on members’ fashion sense of course :p ) – mortified at how Irish people dress. Yet most people generally don’t care what they wear, with only a select view being design conscious. The same goes for the built environment; the majority don’t have opinions either way, with only a certain few anguishing over these matters ๐Ÿ™‚
      The same can be said of so many things in life.

      Fair enough, it has substantially more lasting consequences if manifested in the built environment, but at the end of the day this is what it boils down to – people are just building what they know and like, just like they dress in what they know and like, even if conservative and predictable. It doesn’t matter to them like it matters to people here.

      Saying that, as mentioned before, it’s strange the way this doesn’t extend to the interiors of one-off houses, which are very often lavished with tailor-made solutions and custom fittings with no expense spared, and bizarrely the most contemporary of designs installed in bathrooms and kitchens – yet none of this extends to the exterior, as if people want the best of both worlds but without the ‘risk’ of changing the format. It would appear that people are reluctant to change the shell of the building in which they live: the familiar, protective mode of brick and sloping tiled roofs housing boxy rooms, so this is built as standard, deeming it the most important part to ‘get right’, but then they go contemporary on the inside, essentially cladding the reassuring (if ugly to some) traditional structure in modern design, so that the conventional way of living is maintained whilst allowing contemporary style in.
      If the element of ‘risk’ associated with departing from building convention could be eliminated, we’d be on to something – though yes there is an element of ‘cost’ too ๐Ÿ™‚

      Design guidelines issued and published as proposed earlier is an excellent idea, though of course various counties’ local authorities have partly done this already. But a more focused publication, aimed exclusively at design ideas by the likes of the RIAI could help matters a lot – I’m sure it’s been done at some level already.
      A more pro-active approach by LAs also wouldn’t go amiss to say the least.

      True about architects and websites too singlefarmer – surprisingly many don’t have one, even biggish practices.

    • #778390
      Gianlorenzo
      Participant

      @PDLL wrote:

      Lets move away from the utopian and examine reality. And what is that reality – people build McMansions because this is what they collectively find aesthetically and socially desireable. Why is that the case – because rural Irish people lack aesthetic sensibility, becuase they lack environmental awareness, because they deem it desireable to have PVC windows and mock-Georgian pillars? Who knows. To understand why the face of architecture in rural Ireland has been reduced to the McMansion is a legitimate issue worthy of further investigation, but lets stop berating those that build these houses and lets start asking them why they build them – what is it that appeals to them in these designs. If your interest is in architectural aesthetics, then that sounds like a fairly worthwhile approach to me. If, however, you simply want to isolate more than a million people by denigrating them and their LEGITIMATE expression of architectural aesthetics, then please continue with the same old pseudo-urbane ‘we-are-sooo-sophisticated’ urban vitriol that has come out of this and other threads in the past.

      Could it be that people find much of the glass/steel/concrete buildings in the modern idiom cold and uninviting and perhaps assume that that is all that if on offer from architects today. I am not saying that I agree with this idea, but given some of the awful structures that have been put up in our towns and cities recently you can hardly blame them. People’s other choice, in much of rural Ireland is the over-priced cheek-to-cheek living in the housing estates mushrooming all over the place.
      On many of the threads on this site there has been severe criticism of one-off housing – much of it deserved, but could some of you architects and planners start showing us what you would find acceptable. Few people, of choice, want to live in a large housing estate. Most of them will be looking simply to get on the housing ladder with the hope of eventually buying or building a one-off for themselves.

    • #778391
      jayluna
      Participant

      sorry, I’m somewhat ignorant in the local scene …. i’m an architect, but not from ireland.
      I have been reading the treads and I’m unsure what is meant “one-off” housing and why certain parties are offended by those wanting to build it in the countryside. Is it the quality of the design which is objectionable, or it is placement of any single houses in the countryside which is the problem.

      I’m just trying to understand what the contemporary climate is in Ireland for good design.

      Thanks in advance.

    • #778392
      -Donnacha-
      Participant
    • #778393
      Frank Taylor
      Participant

      One off housing simply means isolated rural housing rather than houses built in villages, towns or cities.

      Around 32,000 of these houses were built last year in Ireland out of a total of 80,000 dwellings constructed.

      There is a debate in Ireland over whether this type of development should be allowed. Currently, government guidelines promote one-off housing and most politcians including the environment minister publicly support it.

    • #778394
      hutton
      Participant

      @Bob Dole wrote:

      Both aesthetics and unsustainability. But unsustainability is a much more significant problem.

      They tend to look like these:

      http://www1.myhome.ie/search/property.asp?id=279467&np=&rt=search&searchlist=

      http://www1.myhome.ie/search/property.asp?id=271272&np=&rt=search&searchlist=

      http://www1.myhome.ie/search/property.asp?id=271849&np=&rt=search&searchlist=

      Aesthetics? Bob how could you say that, you asthete! Afterall apparently A is “elegantly proportioned”,
      B is “SUBSTANCIAL”, and C is both “Executive style” and “Finished to the highest of standards”!

      Rofl ๐Ÿ˜€

    • #778395
      jayluna
      Participant

      thanks for the explanation.
      … is Ireland being sub-divided into little kingdoms?

      Maintain the rage.

    • #778396
      Cute Panda
      Participant

      Ireland has long been divided into separate little states by the GAA, who are a religious/poltical organisation which dabbles in “sport”. (think of a hybrid of soccer, rugby, basketball and bare knuckle fighting were GAA players become “superstars” even though most of them are only known within their rural parish and nowhere else, but enjoy a profile on par with Zinadine Zidane and Mohammed Ali within the Irish media). Modern Ireland is based on GAA country team colours and this determines every aspect of Irish social, economic, poltical and cultural life. Right down to housing patterns.

      Thanks to the GAA county colours mentality Ireland is simply not a nation in any real sense.

      Most Irish people in rural Ireland simply do not even consider themselves Irish. They are citizens of their GAA county colours and this “Me Fein” mentality boils right down to the level of not wanting to be a citizen of a city, town or village – but their lifestyle being defined by having a “site” in a field. Besides, once you have a Sky Digital dish on your roof and three cars in the yard and your 12 year old child is kicking a ball to his infant sister cos there are no other kids around his age then what more could you want…

      National vision and identity has been destroyed mainly by people in rural regions for whom being an Irish citizen means absolutely nothing and gives rise to bizzare notions of regional development such as the Western Rail Corridor (a collection of victoran tramways) which have to be reopened at a cost of half a billion Euros for 750 passengers a day simply because Dublin got two Luas lines. Matters not if anybody west of the shannon will used this rail line – Dublin got their Luas, the West demands half a billion Euros to reopen a pile of rusted rail through the bogs of Mayo.

      So yes, Ireland has already been divided into little kingdoms and as a result national vision from sustainable housing to sustainable transport cannot become a reality.

      One-Off housing is a defiance of citizenship and community. The gated-community mindset taken to an artform. Matters not how gaudy the house in the middle of the field is or isn’t. It’s unpatriotic and that’s the point of it. Imagine if all the survivalist nuts in the USA managed to get the US government to serve their needs – 32,000 in Ireland got just that last year.

    • #778397
      jayluna
      Participant

      interesting …. I’m surprised.

    • #778398
      hutton
      Participant

      @Cute Panda wrote:

      Ireland has long been divided into separate little states by the GAA…Modern Ireland is based on GAA country team colours and this determines every aspect of Irish social, economic, poltical and cultural life. Right down to housing patterns…Thanks to the GAA county colours mentality Ireland is simply not a nation in any real sense.

      Rofl. In fairness CP this is full of some wild assertions. There are a great many people who would strongly contradict this, arguing that the creation GAA in 1884 was central to fostering a sense of national identity that led to the 1916 Rising, War of Independence, etc. (jayluna, for more see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaelic_League ). While the demographic profile of GAA members may be that shared by some Fianna Fail /Fine Gael members, thats a different matter.

      Closer to the point of sub-division into little kingdoms is local government (and coincidentally GAA) being based on a county system that dates from Elizibeth I, and was probably exaserbated by the 1921 partition/ Govt of Ireland Act 1920. That said, Im always amused by calls for a “32 county republic” – ie something based on a dead english queen’s definitions ๐Ÿ˜€

      As to the seperation of strands of society being sports related, it is arguably more the case that the real divider is different sports being played by different socio-economic groups – ie rugby played by affluent Dublin 4 kids, GAA played by inner city/ country kids etc. In the northern end of the island this becomes a lot more ugly when it splits along sectarian lines – and compounded by schools sorted according to religion.

      Regarding the western rail corridor debate, jay may wish to check out http://www.westontrack.com/ and http://www.platform11.org/campaigns/wrc/ for both sides of this debate. Imo its a shame that pro-rail groups could not find common cause at a time when central government spends 4 times more on roads than on public transport.

      And therein lies the real root of the problem – Dublin government policies that at a strategic level are pro low density. Germany has 40 times the population, yet only 2.5 times the amount of roads by kilometre. However coupled with the M3 and Waterford motorways, the NDP is delivering radial motorway routes, which is a remarkably daft way of allocating of resources. Truth is, that in itself speaks volumes of the government mindset – one that until now has ignored that 87% of our energy is imported. And the same one that has delivered a National spatial strategy that bears no corralation to either the NDP transport corridors, nor that to towns selected for decentralisation. All of this is the direct fault of current central government, (not the GAA:p ).

      So into this vacuum of both stategy and planning, while an unprecedented propert boom occurs at a time that argiculture is dying, the one-off housing issue crops up and is vote winner in the countryside… sure what mattter? Think of the mindset; is there any real suprise? Even when the results are blatently unsustainable and a visual massacre of our landscapes?… All in all national embarrassment really. Welcome to Ireland jayluna. ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ๐Ÿ™

    • #778399
      Anonymous
      Participant

      If you take each of those houses as having 3.5 people and 32,000 of them were built then 112,000 people left urban Ireland which from the CIA estimate of 4,015,676 people means that 2.79% of the total population moved into one offs. Given that this has been happeneing for it least 5 years at least 13% of the population have rejected an urban setting. If this persists for another 10 years you are looking at 40% of the population with new one off houses which would probably mean that 50% of the population would be rural.

      Given that 7% of the workforce (Teagasc) work in agriculture something is very wrong

    • #778400
      jayluna
      Participant

      wow …. interesting debate.
      what i meant about little kingdoms was more the individual and his castle.

      so ireland isn’t as idylic as i imagined.

      :confused:

      what does bono say about all this …. doesn’t he have an opinion on everything.

      ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • #778401
      Anonymous
      Participant

      I think he addressed it in the Joshua Tree Albulm with the song where the streets have no name if you can call rows of one to the acre McMansions streets

      Always ahead of his time our Bono

    • #778402
      hutton
      Participant

      @jayluna wrote:

      what does bono say about all this …. doesn’t he have an opinion on everything.

      Lol…Whats the difference between God and Bono? God doesnt walk around heaven thinking he’s Bono ๐Ÿ˜€

    • #778403
      asdasd
      Participant

      If you take each of those houses as having 3.5 people and 32,000 of them were built then 112,000 people left urban Ireland which from the CIA estimate of 4,015,676 people means that 2.79% of the total population moved into one offs. Given that this has been happeneing for it least 5 years at least 13% of the population have rejected an urban setting. If this persists for another 10 years you are looking at 40% of the population with new one off houses which would probably mean that 50% of the population would be rural.

      I doubt thesestatistics, I am afraid. There is no way we get 3.5 people to a house, and so it is unlikely that 13% of the population is in one offs. If there were 3.5 people to a house, then the number of houses predicted to be built this year [90,000] would be enough to house 315,000 people more than last year: which is far ahead of demographic projections, even at the most extreme. The number of houses built over the last 5 years would be enough to house one million extra people, or thereabouts.

      In fact it is almost impossible to see why demand is greater than supply countrywide unless there is substantial number of houses unoccupied – i.e as second houses not rented out.

      Laws against this would reduce the price of housing, and reduce the number of one offs being built. Missing in Panda’s crazy screed is the fact that Irish people have generally historically lived in one-offs – i.e. cottages. If these older cottages, and bungalows, were not occupied for 2 weeks a year by the Dublin intelligentsia there would be little need for new once off housing as the original stock would become available.

      Lastly, support for a GAA team is not “anti-patriotic”, and is no more tribal than local support for English or Italian soccer teams.

    • #778404
      hutton
      Participant

      @asdasd wrote:

      I doubt thesestatistics, I am afraid. There is no way we get 3.5 people to a house, and so it is unlikely that 13% of the population is in one offs. If there were 3.5 people to a house, then the number of houses predicted to be built this year [90,000] would be enough to house 315,000 people more than last year: which is far ahead of demographic projections, even at the most extreme. The number of houses built over the last 5 years would be enough to house one million extra people, or thereabouts.

      In fact it is almost impossible to see why demand is greater than supply countrywide unless there is substantial number of houses unoccupied – i.e as second houses not rented out.

      Laws against this would reduce the price of housing, and reduce the number of one offs being built. Missing in Panda’s crazy screed is the fact that Irish people have generally historically lived in one-offs – i.e. cottages. If these older cottages, and bungalows, were not occupied for 2 weeks a year by the Dublin intelligentsia there would be little need for new once off housing as the original stock would become available.

      Lastly, support for a GAA team is not “anti-patriotic”, and is no more tribal than local support for English or Italian soccer teams.

      Agreed. However as to “Irish people have generally historically lived in one-offs – i.e. cottages”, I differ in that the coatline at places such as Donegal, Galway and Clare have only been really decimated in the last 20 years.It is equally correct that, historically speaking, dwellers of one-offs were employed by agriculture – which obviously is not the case now.

    • #778405
      Anonymous
      Participant

      Given that most one-offs appear to have four or five bedrooms I am pretty sure that the primary driver behind these houses are that they provide a lot of space for families who have outgrown the standard three bed semi.

      You are correct that some of them are holiday homes but the majority it is felt are not outside possibly Donegal, parts of very West Cork, South Kerry and Leitrim. So possibly you could downgrade the 13% to 10-11% but it has still been an absolute explosion which will have long term implications for many marginal towns throughout the country with particular reference to places such as Ballyhaunis and Portumna.

      Re The GAA I see them as making a very positive contribution to Irish society through the provision of an excellent local infrastructure of clubs in every parish in the state as well as providing the only real summer tv sport for those not directly involved.

    • #778406
      asdasd
      Participant

      I think we could differentiate between once-off housing in scenic areas, and once-off housing elsewhere ( i.e. the midlands). We would all want t protect the scenic area os ireland, preferably as national parks. I think the monotony of the midlands is broken by once-offs, in fact.

      If they should be charged more for the resources they consume, so be it ( that has in someways been the case anyway – water charges, higher phone bills etc.)

    • #778407
      hutton
      Participant

      @asdasd wrote:

      I think we could differentiate between once-off housing in scenic areas, and once-off housing elsewhere ( i.e. the midlands). We would all want t protect the scenic area os ireland, preferably as national parks. I think the monotony of the midlands is broken by once-offs, in fact.

      If they should be charged more for the resources they consume, so be it ( that has in someways been the case anyway – water charges, higher phone bills etc.)

      Ah but theyre not – town dwellers end up effectively subsidising such dwellers through the allocation of spending at Govt level, such as school bus runs, public transport etc to such dwellings. The cheaper initial capital outlay to the one-off builder is a discount that is carried by society as a whole. I am not against all one-offs all of the time but the current free-for-all climate is a disaster.

      It is particularly regrettable that it is the scenic areas along the west coast that are the worst affected, but at the same time the one-offs that are being built at present in the midlands should not be encouraged given all the issues regarding sustainability.

    • #778408
      Anonymous
      Participant

      I can’t see this ever happening it should be bourne in mind that this is a country that had a 20 year recession becuase it was decided prudent to abolish domestic rates.

      I think the greatest threat from one off houses is the life they take out of existing towns and villages by removing families and limiting the ability for social interaction not to mention the effects of dispersed transport provision.

    • #778409
      kite
      Participant

      @Thomond Park wrote:

      I think he addressed it in the Joshua Tree Albulm with the song where the streets have no name if you can call rows of one to the acre McMansions streets

      Always ahead of his time our Bono

      ๐Ÿ˜‰ Also preaching about high-rise in Running to stand still, “I see 7 towers and only see one way out”…
      And in How to dismantle an atomic bombs all because of you..”some people got high-rises on their backs”
      ……Sorry for the rant, im just a fan of U2

    • #778410
      hutton
      Participant

      @kite wrote:

      And in How to dismantle an atomic bombs all because of you..”some people got high-rises on their backs”……Sorry for the rant, im just a fan of U2

      Yeah I noticed that too – I wondered whether it was a side reference to any crits on their tower at the docks. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #778411
      kite
      Participant

      @hutton wrote:

      Yeah I noticed that too – I wondered whether it was a side reference to any crits on their tower at the docks. ๐Ÿ™‚

      ๐Ÿ˜‰ For a guy that lives most of the year in Eze, South of France, an area where you would not strain you neck looking up at the likes of the U2 tower he writes a lot about high-rise

    • #778412
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      No point responding to Cute Panda’s comments – this person obviously has one very very large axe to grind. Thankfully, though, his/her comments simply justify exactly what I said at the outside about stereotypyes, diatribes and general ignorance towards the rural community. What I particularly like though is the simultaneous rejection of the western rail corridor and one-off houses. Perhaps if there was a western rail corrider there might be a greater desire for people to gravitate towards a select number of urban centres. Provide the infrastructure, provide real life-style incentives and architectural design incentives and maybe people might actually want to gravitate towards Ireland’s rural towns giving them enough critical mass to start attracting others. Until this happens, the situation will remain the same and until the law forces building developers to work hand-in-hand with architects in developing more diverse urban landscapes, the problem will persist. This is not about environmentally unfriendly ‘boggers’ who just hate ‘townies’ so much that they want to live like dispersed hermits. It is about providing real incentives (transport, quality of life, employment, architectural design etc) to get people into higher density settlements. Part of the way to solve that is by addressing the infrastructural deficit from which the west has suffered since the famine and by slowing growth in the GDA. With mentalities like that of Cute Panda in existence, the problem will never get better.

    • #778413
      Anonymous
      Participant

      @PDLL wrote:

      Provide the infrastructure, provide real life-style incentives and architectural design incentives and maybe people might actually want to gravitate towards Ireland’s rural towns giving them enough critical mass to start attracting others.

      I agree there is a massive infrastructural deficit in the BMW and without investment many of these towns will continue to decay and serve solely as trading posts with a couple of Spars and an off licence to cater for the urban migrants who have built homes within a few miles of them.

      @PDLL wrote:

      Until this happens, the situation will remain the same and until the law forces building developers to work hand-in-hand with architects in developing more diverse urban landscapes, the problem will persist.

      Agreed the Tipperary Town project will be interesting to see if it actually happens.

      @PDLL wrote:

      This is not about environmentally unfriendly ‘boggers’ who just hate ‘townies’ so much that they want to live like dispersed hermits. It is about providing real incentives (transport, quality of life, employment, architectural design etc) to get people into higher density settlements.

      I agree with this there is far too much stereotyping on both sides in the debate and all either from an urban or a rural background want a quality environment with real services. A major problem quite often as evidenced before every local election is the amount of resources diverted from towns to provide services to individuals who through lobbying get politicians to have works authorised that are unjustifiable on a cost benefit analysis.

      @PDLL wrote:

      Part of the way to solve that is by addressing the infrastructural deficit from which the west has suffered since the famine and by slowing growth in the GDA. With mentalities like that of Cute Panda in existence, the problem will never get better.

      Agreed again]WRC[/URL]

    • #778414
      hutton
      Participant

      OMG We’re in danger of achieving consensus on this one…PDLL + TP are agreeing on 1-offs, love and peace is breaking out on archiseek; whatever next? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

      PDLL, I agree with you fully. Incentivise the right kind of development, as opposed to just bitching about the wrong kind and those involved. Imo that includes the full western corridor – and I believe that by doing so, it would have a benefecial effect of increasing traffic throughout the rail system, not just the WRC; it is a shame that this has never been calculated:( . All in all, if it was up to me I would continue the WRC up past Sligo, as a BMW project, linking it in to the Derry railhead!:D

      @Thomond Park wrote:

      Heres how the idea came about for the WRC

      Ah TP, ’tis not the case – the WRC campaign has been on the go for 20+ years; I am quite sure that the intelligent authors *cough, cough* of that release would acknowledge that. 3 years ago An Taisce rightfully presented Fr Micheรƒยกl MacGrรƒยฉil with award acknowledging his work. That said, it was a shame that the schedule presentedd in that release did not become a topic of debate in the media; James Nix, co-author of Chaos at Xrds, did some good work in calculating those figures.

    • #778415
      Anonymous
      Participant

      @hutton wrote:

      All in all, if it was up to me I would continue the WRC up past Sligo, as a BMW project, linking it in to the Derry railhead!:D

      Funny thing is that it took a fierce campaign to save the rail connection from Colraine to Derry only last year because it was found to be totally unviable and given the commercial relationship between Belfast and Derry anything South of Derry towards Tuam would have no chance of even operational equilibrium let alone serviceing the finance costs on construction.

      @hutton wrote:

      Ah TP, ’tis not the case –

      That really disapoints me but nonetheless it shows a clinical approach to infrastructural development unlike the รขโ€šยฌ800m to be spent on these traffic flows

    • #778416
      jimg
      Participant

      Ah TP, ’tis not the case – the WRC campaign has been on the go for 20+ years; I am quite sure that the intelligent authors *cough, cough* of that release would acknowledge that. 3 years ago An Taisce rightfully presented Fr Micheรƒยกl MacGrรƒยฉil with award acknowledging his work. That said, it was a shame that the schedule presentedd in that release did not become a topic of debate in the media; James Nix, co-author of Chaos at Xrds, did some good work in calculating those figures.

      The WRC would be a collosal waste of money and would do absolutely nothing for the west. I doubt even many students or free-travel pensioners would use it given that, as planned, it will be slower, more expensive and far less frequent than the current bus service. The estimated passenger numbers is 750 passengers a day – which to be honest I think is on the high side. This is a white elephant of the highest order – the bones of half a billion in capital costs alone with probably high ongoing annual losses to carry less passengers in a day than a single DART. I have family from the west and spend quite a bit of time there and the last thing the region needs is to squander infrastructure spending on such a stupid project. I’m a big fan of rail but TP is right – the future for useful sustainable modern rail is high demand intercity and commuter services, not slow, infrequent, massively loss makng regional lines.

      This type of regional rail made some sort of sense up to the 1940s when there was no competition for transport but at this stage it is simply a dead technology. It would make about as much sense to link Galway to Sligo by canal and expect it act as an economic stimulus to the region. Nothing wrong with facing this fact – at one time canals did provide big economic benefits but times change. I’d prefer infrastructure spending in the west be directed to something that might actually make a difference. Even ignoring the state of the roads, basic pieces of infrastructure like, for example, the electricity grid is v. poor in much of the west which means even factories couldn’t locate there even if they wanted to. Spending on roads, energy supply and telecoms might actually help the west.

      While I’m on the subject and to get back to the subject of the thread, it would also help if the one economic success story of the West – tourism – wasn’t being destroyed by shortsighted planning decisions which benefit a small few – auctioneers, some farmers and builders. You’d want to be very shortsighted to not realise that the hollowing out of western towns and villages and the spreading people all over the countryside in isolated once-offs is adversely affecting tourism. Tourists are voting with their feet – numbers have been falling steadily for the last couple of years.

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