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Census shows Connemara holiday homes leave locals out in the cold

Holiday homes now clearly exceed the number of dwellings occupied by local people in a swathe of Connemara from Roundstone to Clifden.

Newly-published statistics from the 2022 Census show that homes owned by visitors – and lived in on an occasional basis – account for more than 60% of the dwellings along the picturesque countryside of Roundstone and Ballyconneely.

The demand for holiday homes in that area continues unabated, according to sources in the property industry and local people are effectively locked out of the market because the incoming buyers can pay much higher prices.

Local councillors Eileen Mannion and Gerry King said the balance was now clearly tilting in the wrong direction with the prevalence of holiday homes in West Connemara.

Former Gaeltacht and Rural Affairs Minister, Éamon Ó Cuív, said that action was needed to generate employment in those areas to counter the pressures on the local population.

“The best bulwark against holiday homes is a strong local economy,” Deputy Ó Cuív said.

Roundstone is a haven for those who seek holiday homes. There are 239 such homes in the area out of 422 dwellings.  More than half of the dwellings in “Ireland’s most picturesque village” – as it was dubbed last year – and in its hinterland are unoccupied at this time of the year.

While the preponderance of holiday homes may not have a direct correlation with the drop in the young population, there is a remarkable decrease in the primary school numbers in Roundstone, indicating an outward movement of people.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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