560 families apply to live on Inis Meáin rent-free for one year

560 families apply to live on Inis Meáin rent-free for one year

560 APPLICATIONS have been filed to live rent-free for a year on Inis Meáin, one of three Aran Islands off the coast of Galway.

Comhlacht Forbatha, the local community development organisation, made the call out to for a family to live one the island last week.

The selected family will have school age children and would be moving to the island in September to live rent free in a modern house for the academic year.

This is an attempt to tackle falling school numbers on the islands off the Galway Coast.

"We're looking for a family with children to move to Inis Meáin for an academic year to live as part of the community here to attend our schools,” Dara O'Madaoin of Comhlacht Forbartha explained to Newstalk.

"And we're happy to pay the rent for that family as well to stay here for that time."

The local school teaches through the medium of Irish but Mr O’Madaoin stressed that it was not an absolute requirement that the family be fluent speakers when they arrive:

“If they're fluent Irish speakers that's great,” he continued.

“This is a thriving Irish-speaking community.

"But I suppose as long as they have an affection to the language and are open to the language - and open to being part of a community where Irish is still the everyday language and the first language of the majority of the population - then that's all we really ask".

It was also stressed how the island has a brand new remote working hub and employment opportunities.

The weather was also raised by O'Madaoin, who said that any family applying "will have to think about the fact that they're not just going to be able to hop into the car and go wherever they want."

"There might be days when the weather is bad and the boat can't sail, or the airplane can't come - and that's part of life here."

The deadline for applications is 10th August and interested parties should email [email protected]