The Government has been forced to clarify details of a new islands policy abroad after “misleading” international coverage of a recently announced scheme which seeks to revitalise Ireland’s islands.
“Significant” global coverage has incorrectly reported that the Irish Government will “pay” people to relocate and inhabit the islands after Our Living Islands was announced last month.
The policy aims to put a “real focus” on improving housing and water infrastructure, better access to essential services in health and education, delivering high-speed broadband, supporting remote working and further developing outdoor amenities and sustainable tourism.
It also includes additional support through the Government’s Property Refurbishment Grant Scheme Croí Cónaithe as part of a major effort to turn vacant or derelict buildings on islands into long-term homes. Under this measure, the existing grant ceilings have been increased by 20% up to €84,000, an element that has garnered a global media frenzy.
Media from across the EU, UK, US, Australia and Asia reported on the scheme, with CNN reporting that “Ireland will pay you $90,000 to move to a beautiful island home”. Forbes reported that people could be paid “over $90,000 to move to a remote island In Ireland”, while CNBC said those dreaming of “leaving everything behind and living on a remote island” can get €84,000 to settle there.
The India Times reported: “While watching movies like The Banshees of Inisherin, people worldwide may find it unimaginable to be paid for living in such picturesque locations.”
Owner of Achill Island Property, Joe Mulligan, said he has received a significant increase in international inquiries, some of which are misinformed believing they would be paid to live on Achill Island.
“I’ve been getting contacted by people from the US, mainland Europe and South Africa so far in relation to it,” he said before adding: “I’d say 50% of people inquiring have a little bit of a misunderstanding about it.”
He said the grant has “without question” generated a lot of interest, including genuine inquiries about moving to Achill Island from abroad. “There’s no doubt at all, based on the level of inquiries I’m getting from an international audience, that it’s created interest,” he said.
A department spokesperson said there has been “significant international interest” in the new Islands Policy.
“In some instances, we have noticed some misleading information in international media in relation to the vacant homes refurbishment grant for the islands. It is not the case that people will be paid to relocate to islands off the coast of Ireland.
“These articles were not verified with the department’s press office. Where we have been made aware of misleading articles, we have contacted the organisation concerned and requested a correction,” they said.
Some of the news sites abroad have since rectified their coverage, adding that “there is a catch” to the payment to relocate.
Source : Irish Examiner