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Monday 2 October 2023 Dublin: 13°C
Alamy A house on Inis Méain
# island life
Scheme to house a family on Inis Meáin for a year generating 'huge' interest
The scheme, which includes free rent, has received 560 applications so far.

A SCHEME TO house a family on Inis Meáin for a year with free rent has garnered “huge interest” from applicants in Ireland and abroad.

The scheme is aimed at a family with a functional level of Irish, with children in pre-school or primary school.

Mairéad Ní Fhátharta, the caothairleach of Comhlacht Fobartha Inis Meáin (the Inis Meáin development body) and the principal of the island’s secondary school, told The Journal that the response to the advertised scheme has been overwhelmingly positive.

“These are ordinary families living in Ireland who want to experience this and want to immerse themselves in the language, who want to live in rural areas for a while.”

Inis Meáin, the middle of the three Aran Islands, has a preschool, primary school and secondary school.
pupils-of-colaiste-naomh-eoin-on-inis-meain-aran-islands-await-the-arrival-of-taoiseach-leo-varadkar-for-a-visit-to-mark-its-establishment-as-a-single-entity-school Alamy Students from Coláiste Naomh Eoin on Inis Meáin Alamy
She added that there have been a number of international applicants, including “huge interest from Canada”, and an Australian radio station has reached out to the Comhlacht to promote the scheme.

Ní Fhátharta’s school, Coláiste Naomh Eoin, has students from all over Ireland on boarding grants and funded schemes, but this is the first time that the rent-free aspect for a family has been used.

She noted, however, that the family will have to sustain themselves: “Rent free does not mean bill free.”

The successful family will be able to move to Inis Meáin in September, and applicants with “a command of the [Irish] language” will be prioritised to enable them to integrate into the school and the community.

For remote workers, the island has a newly opened remote working hub as part of the Gteic scheme for Gaeltacht areas.

Ní Fhátharta said: “To live on an offshore ssland is not something that you can just decide to do one day, without some kind of incentive.”

But “the benefits are huge – becoming fluent in the Irish language, to experience something so unique.”

The closing date for applications is 10 August.

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