A TOTAL of 17 houses in Innishannon village centre are unoccupied, Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard told the Upper House.
It is, he said, 12 miles from Cork city and four miles from Bandon. It is a prime location and yet that level of vacancy exists.
Speaking during a debate on rural development, he said addressing that issue will allow the government to regenerate rural Ireland and solve the housing issue as well. ‘These are issues we need to work on,’ he said.
Senator Lombard said there are almost 5,000 people working for Apple in Cork but almost half of them work from home. ‘Such is the ability we have in rural Ireland,’ he said. ‘Employees do not have to travel all the way to Cork city to work – they have the opportunity to work from home. We need to ensure that the broadband roll-out project brings the speeds required so that people can work from home. I see that as the key driver to ensure rural Ireland is sustainable in future. I know the Minister (Michael Ring) will play his part to push forward the announcement that will be made towards the end of this year so that rural homes can be connected and can get the speeds required. The knock-on effect will ensure rural Ireland is connected and sustained.’
In response, Minister Ring said his job in the Government is not about giving out funding, but to make every other Minister accountable to rural Ireland. ‘That is why the action plan is in place. It has all the commitments from the Departments, State agencies and local authorities to work together. I believe we have a bright future. We have bright people and a good rural Ireland.’