Go-ahead for 48 new houses in Bearna

A computer-generated image of how the development in Bearna will look.

Planners have given the green light for the development of 48 new homes in Bearna, nine of which must be reserved for Irish speakers.

Drumque Ltd – which is headed by Darren King from Rosscahill and Pat O’Sullivan from Dublin – has been granted permission for the construction of the 48 new homes at Forramoyle East. Well-known developer Walter King is also involved in the project.

The 6.7-acre site is parallel to the Truskey West road north of the village, and the development will comprise 30 two-storey detached units; 14 two-storey semis and four two-storey terraced units.

A linguistic impact assessment included with the application states that nine of the homes will be reserved for Irish speakers.

“The proposed development will provide additional residential units within Bearna which will augment and support the existing population centre. The provision of an additional 48 units at this location will not have an adverse impact on the linguistic integrity of the area due to the population levels and numbers of Irish speakers in the vicinity.

“Furthermore, in compliance with the extant Gaeltacht and Bearna Local Area Plans, nine residential units will be reserved for Irish speaking members of the community.

“The reservation of these houses for Irish speakers will help strengthen the language in the village and that this is in addition to any further Irish speakers that may occupy the 39 remaining houses. This will have a positive impact on the Irish language and culture in Bearna,” the application reads.

There were seven submissions to the County Council from third parties, which voiced concerns about the density of the development, the increase in traffic, overshadowing and surface water.

The Council granted permission for the development, attaching a total of sixteen conditions, including a stipulation that a development contribution of €227,000 be made to the local authority towards the cost of providing services to the site.

A bond to the value of €336,000 must also be lodged with the Council to secure the provision and satisfactory completion of lighting, roads, footpaths and open spaces.

A minimum of 20% of the houses must be restricted for use as a house “by those who can demonstrate the ability to preserve and protect the language and culture of the Gaeltacht . . . for a period of 15 years”

The balance of the houses has been restricted for use as a house by local people; people employed or creating employment in the area; returning emigrants from the area or people returning to the area from other parts of Ireland; immediate family members of emigrants or migrants. The restrictions must apply for a period of 15 years.

The developers have also been ordered to commission an independent road safety audit.

A similar application on the site in 2016 was refused on the grounds of layout and design, road issues and the provision of open space within the development.