Young people are being priced out of tourist hotspots like Dingle as properties are snapped up by investors looking to make money from short-term rentals.
Census figures show that Dingle now has the oldest population in Ireland, alongside Ballyshannon in County Donegal.
The average age in the Kerry town is now 44.4 years old – nearly six years above the national average of 38.8.
On Lunchtime Live this afternoon, local Fianna Fáil Cllr Breandán Fitzgerald said the town has become a “victim of its own success”.
“Dingle is very, very popular tourist town,” he said. “People like to come to Dingle – they want to stay in Dingle, they want to live in Dingle.
“It actually happened during COVID, people found out they could work from rural areas and towns like Dingle so when they saw properties coming on the market here, they started buying them.
“Then you have people who are retiring, maybe from the town originally or from the countryside, they are retired and they want to move back and when a property would come on the market they would buy.”
Also on the show, Dingle local Jamie said most of his friends are now emigrating – because they have lost hope of putting down roots in their hometown.
“I think the main reason for that is, certain people have come in, bought the properties as their second and third properties and are letting them out short-term in residential estates,” he said.
“That has resulted in young people being unable to move back to their hometowns.
“Even when they do move home, they have to move back into their family homes, maybe with their parents or with other relatives and look, that’s not sustainable if we want to build in a place like Dingle where 96% of the businesses in the town are family-run businesses.
“If you want to pass it on to the next generation, how can you continue that if there is not something put in place?”
“Young people are being outbid
He said people buying second and third homes should be obliged to put them on the long-term rental market.
“Young people are being outbid,” he said.
“They are trying to put together deposits and get these schemes and then they are being outbid by people who have lump sums who aren’t even viewing the properties and planning to let out the property and bring in extra income.
“What I’m seeing at the moment is that most of my friends are emigrating to the likes of Asia or Australia because a lot of them can’t - even with the wages they’re getting in Ireland, which are really high, and even if they’re in a relationship with two solid wages coming in – they’re still not able to put in a bid.”
Cllr Fitzgerald called for smaller towns like Dingle to be included in the affordable housing schemes so the council can build social housing.
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