Crisis in the countryside claims councillor

Michelle Nic Phaidin

Reporter:

Michelle Nic Phaidin

Land will be rendered useless, farmers will not be able to drain or cultivate their own land and rural villages will have less status than a town street due to the effect that EU directives implemented in September have on the County Development Plan, according to one county councillor.

Land will be rendered useless, farmers will not be able to drain or cultivate their own land and rural villages will have less status than a town street due to the effect that EU directives implemented in September have on the County Development Plan, according to one county councillor.

Carrick based, Clr Brendan Byrne said: “Minister Phil Hogan signed various directives into law last September. These included directives on wetlands, habitat, EPA guidelines and River Basin planning. The upshot of all these directives and new laws being implemented by this government will make it impossible for people in the future to build a home for themselves and for their families in various parts of Donegal. We should not have implemented our plan until we were certain of the consequences. Cataclysmic change will now impact the people of Donegal,” he said.

He added that it had been their duty to interpret and implement these directives in the most flexible and relaxed manner in order to accommodate the people of Donegal. He claimed that the government and its agencies, such as the councils, had been over implementing and over burdening the people of this country with EU directives.

“We are grossly over zealous in how we enforce these directives. At this stage quite a few areas will not have a right to build on their own lands due to these directives. There are farmers who will not be able to drain or cultivate their own land on account of them. People have not realised the implications yet. There is a line in the river basin plan that states that you are not allowed to build within a kilometre of a river covered in the river basin’s land,” he said.

He added that over 40 villages have been given reduced status and as a result of this respective ministers will find it easier to close garda stations and post offices on the back of the fact that these areas will no longer have much status.

“They may say if Donegal County Council don’t find it important to grant them village status then why would we grant them a garda station or a post office. It could seriously affect the future of services to rural areas,” he said.

He warned that if someone wants to build in an area that does not have the correct sewerage status that people will find it very difficult to get planning permission in the area.

“There are a huge number of people who think that they have a valuable asset in land, they think that they can still build on it when they can’t. The majority of people will only find this out when they apply for planning permission and this is unfortunate,” he said.