May 1948

Blueprint for progress

Everyone who knows rural Ireland at all is familiar with the pattern of the typical village – the church, rows of low-built, drab cottages, a school on the outskirts and perhaps a large house that belongs to a doctor.

Mrs E Bishop and Mr R Orpen recently told members of the Town and Country Planning Association about the steps being taken to improve rural Ireland, to maintain the population in country areas and prevent movement to big towns.

Mrs Bishop said the shift to urban areas was not owing to economic factors so much as the dullness of the countryside.

In addition, higher standards of living were not so easily brought to outlying districts. She said about 80% of the country was to get electricity in the next 10 years but remote parts would still be without it. Thus village life has to be made more attractive in other ways.

First, bypasses should be suitably screened with trees to discourage linear development, followed by a rise in garden plots. Garden plots are not common in rural Ireland and most homes lead straight onto the road.

Demolition of old ruined property would make way for village greens next to which village halls could be constructed.

Amenities provided here would encourage spending on recreation and entertainment, money from which could be used for replacing out-of-date schools.

Finally, semi-detached homes for old people, a health centre and swimming pool could be provided.