Boat sailing off the coast of Dalkey Island, Source: Majestic Lukas / Unsplash

Get up to 84,000 euros to move to an Irish island

Get up to 84,000 euros to move to an Irish island

The government’s new Living Islands Policy wants to reinvigorate offshore communities

Yesterday, the Irish government launched the first island development policy in the last 27 years. The so-called ‘Living Islands Policy’ calls for massive investment in infrastructure to ultimately convince more people to move to Ireland’s offshore islands. The policy will affect 80 communities on 23 inhabited islands, with a current population of around 2,700 people.

Additionally, the authorities have also increased the grant size for people who aim to become islanders – specifically in cases where newcomers want to restore a vacant or dilapidated house. The maximum grant for vacant properties is 60,000 euros, while a derelict property can land new owners up to 84,000, under the Croí Cónaithe policy.

This, according to an official statement, is because construction on these far-flung territories with underdeveloped infrastructure can be quite a bit more expensive than on the mainland. Moreover, the core of the Living Islands Policy is to invest in infrastructure, with roads, broadband and healthcare solutions for inhabitants.

The Croí Cónaithe funding scheme

The Croí Cónaithe policy is a 2022 funding scheme from the Irish government aimed at making it easier to refurbish old and derelict housing. Under the scheme, new owners are eligible to receive a grant for the costs of redevelopment. It applies to properties in mainland Ireland as well as the islands, with the notable difference that funding ceilings on the islands are 20% higher.

The funding is handed out by local authorities which require both proof of vacancy and ownership, and the properties in question must be the primary residences of future owners. Additionally, a would-be owner may receive approval on grants during purchase negotiations, however, the funds will not be transferred until the purchase is complete. 

To learn more about the scheme, including how to apply, visit Ireland's official government website.

Growing island communities

Since the last island strategy in Ireland, 27 years ago, the population of these areas has dropped by around 13% to 2,700 people. During the policy’s development, the government consulted with communities themselves and zeroed in on issues like housing, broadband, mobility, energy and water independence and access to healthcare.

Consequently, the plan calls for funding of broadband connections for schools and digital hubs, where locals can have access to a wider variety of job opportunities done online.

Moreover, the plan calls for deploying so-called E-Health Pods – an automated healthcare booth where people can do health check-ups, although authorities have yet to announce more on that part of the plan.

The bulk of the finding for island communities will come through local authorities and according to Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, the first round of 1.9 million will mainly be focused on 5 local authorities – Sligo, Donegal, Mayo, Galway and Cork.

The plan has two tiers, one of which is supposed to activate during the next three years, aimed at more immediate issues, plus a long-term funding scheme for the next decade. According to Minister Humphreys, the Living Islands Plan seeks to boost communities so that they have a bright and sustainable future.  



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