Ó Cuív says that Euro court ruling poses big threat to new one-off rural houses

A WEST Galway TD has warned that a European Court ruling issued some years back, called the Flemish Decree, could have major negative implications for one-off rural housing in the West of Ireland.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív, told the Farming Tribune, that the ruling issued by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) meant that a special case could not now be made for local people being favoured to build houses on their own lands.

In the Flemish Decree case, the ECJ judged that the requirement for the transfer of property in certain Flemish [Belgium] communes on the condition of a sufficient connection [local, family etc.] breached Article 43 of the EU Treaty on the free movement of citizens.

“This is a matter of huge relevance for many people in rural Galway – and especially those in a 25-mile radius of the city where nearly all the jobs are – as regards their chances of being able to build houses on their family lands,” said Deputy Ó Cuív. He said that it was written into the current County Development Plan that priority in planning applications could be given on the basis of the applicant’s connection to his local area such as family farmland.

“I have asked many times for the Housing Minister [Eoghan Murphy] to publish a discussion document on this Flemish Decree ruling and the implications that it has for people who want to stay and live in rural Ireland, but unfortunately this hasn’t happened,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.

The Minister had told him that a working group was established to review and, where necessary, recommend changes to planning guidelines, but this hadn’t happened.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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