The death of rural Ireland?


Sir, – Rural Ireland is not suffering from neglect and decay, according to Stephen Collins (Opinion & Analysis, September 13th).

The evidence, he claims, flatly contradicts such a myth.

He quotes the 2016 census to demonstrate that, “there are now 1.75 million people living in rural areas, up from 1.5 million 20 years ago”.

In truth, the census shows that while population growth was strong in the commuter belt counties of Meath, Kildare and Laois, the population fell over five years in Donegal (– 1.5 per cent), Mayo (– 0.2 per cent) and Sligo (– 0.1 per cent).

The labour force in Donegal is declining, unemployment is 18 per cent and 16 per cent of young people have left the county in the last five years.

The decay of rural Ireland is evident, the neglect is proved by the continuing lack of a dual carriageway from Dublin to the northwest. – Yours, etc,


Gaoth Dobhair,

Co Dhún na nGall.

Sir, – Exhorting rural folk to refrain from “indulging in nostalgia for a way of life that is no more”, Stephen Collins tries to hammer home a message of healthy progress, rather than retro-social dynamics to the cause of burgeoning depersonalisation.

However, he crucially forgets to factor in the contrapuntal downsides of the blatant exponential clogging of the main cities (especially Dublin). Such concentrated zones induce nothing but traffic chaos, unsustainable commutes (with attendant carbon footprint overkill), grotesque urban sprawl, astronomical property and rental prices, to say nothing of the acute socio-familial pressure to deal with time-poor, or space-poor or community-poor scenarios. – Yours, etc,


Lismore, Co Waterford .

Sir, – Nobody forced rural people to abandon their villages and small towns to build mini-mansions on their parents land in the middle of nowhere. It was their own choice, aided and abetted by politicians who think proper planning has something to do with the size of families. Now they want their choice of lifestyle to be subsidised by urban dwellers by keeping uneconomic rural services going for their benefit. No chance. They brought it on themselves – so let them live with it. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.