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Challenges facing those who want to live in towns and villages across Carlow and Kilkenny

But Carlow was recently hailed an exemplar for how it's dealing with vacancies and dereliction

A local councillor’s lamenting the loss of residencies and businesses in rural towns and villages.

Cllr John Murphy told the monthly meeting of Carlow County Council that the changing face of retail means that where he once had four options to buy a newspaper in his local town of Tullow, the outlets now more likely house a places to get your nails done.

Cllr Murphy says while you can have all the schemes you like, such as Croí Conaithe, Town Centres First and so on, more needs to be done to combat the challenges faced by those who are considering moving into units above a retail property; “You have health and safety today, you have all the different schemes, you would have to possibly put in maybe lifts to go upstairs, maybe it’ll be older families be living in it, younger families with kids and then you come into parking spaces and if some of them have cars and we’re trying to get most of the cars off the square in Tullow for this Vision 2040 for Tullow, but it is changing and it’s a challenge, I haven’t got the answers, I’m not sure whether it’s government will have to look at taxation issues, I know there’s lot of grants there but there’s more than grants”.

Local authority CEO Coilín O’Reilly told members at the monthly meeting that at a recent housing summit Carlow was hailed as an exemplar of what should be done in terms of tackling building vacancy and dereliction.

Cllr Murphy says there’s positivity there that can be built upon; “Isn’t it fantastic, we’re proactive, we’re trying to get houses back into the people living in them and there are quite a few vacant houses there still but over time we will get there and it’s great to be, that Carlow are up there on a pedestal and that others are looking at what we’re doing”.

Meanwhile, public information evenings will take place next year to better outline the various schemes that are available and such events could help Cllr Murphy; “There’s so many schemes there people get confused but there are lots of schemes and it’s all about having a look at them and we get confused ourselves about them, I get confused there are so many different ones, but they are there and workshops or some sort of information evenings are very good for everyone, the people that own the properties and maybe someone hopefully that will be living in them some day”.