Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West, Éamon Ó Cuív, has said the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government has consistently kicked to touch the decision to provide new draft guidelines on one off rural housing following the EU judgement called the Flemish Decree and has called for draft guidelines, to be published with a consultation process before any final decisions are made on rural planning policy.

He commented, “I have repeatedly raised this with the Minister yet he maintains this hands off approach toward all housing and planning decisions.

“He has informed me that following the European Commission in the “Flemish Decree” case in 2017, a working group was established to review and, where necessary, recommend changes to planning guidelines. This working group was set up in 2017 and was meant to report in a very short period of time. Despite the time-lapse since, no public consultation has taken place regarding the possible implications of the “Flemish Decree” and no new draft guidelines have been published.

“It is absolutely imperative that before any decisions are made in relation to this matter, that the Minister would publish draft guidelines and seek public submissions regarding same.There is a need for a much wider consultation with both the public in general and the political system, in relation to what could be one of the defining decisions in relation to the future of rural Ireland.

“The right of people to work and live in the areas they are from, could be seriously compromised by the Court ruling and we have to ensure that the viability or rural areas is maintained in whatever new sustainable rural guidelines are issued. I will continue to push this matter with the Minister to ensure rural Ireland has their say in this process,” concluded Deputy Ó Cuív.