Written by Roseanne Bradley,
19th June 2023

If you’ve ever felt like dropping everything and starting afresh somewhere new, now may be the time to do so as the Irish government is offering generous cash incentives to those willing to move to its rural islands.

Ireland’s ‘Our Living’ policy is a new scheme launched by the government in early June 2023. The scheme aims to boost population on offshore islands by providing a cash incentive of up to €84,000 for those who move there.

Homes on the Aran Islands in County Galway

The Our Living scheme

The Irish government will provide people with a cash incentive if you choose to move to one of Ireland’s rural islands. There are over 30 islands off the Irish coast cut off by the daily tide and are not connected by bridge or causeway or are privately owned. The government believes these islands and their communities are, “an integral part of the fabric of rural Ireland.”

In the published policy, which you can view here, the Government of Ireland writes, “The economic value of the islands extends far beyond their own shores, with many towns and businesses on the mainland benefiting from the provision of services such as hospitality and accommodation to those en route to and from the islands.”

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Proposed actions

The ‘Our Living’ scheme aims to improve conditions, boost employment opportunities, improve infrastructure and housing availability to new residents on these rural islands to make the islands more attractive to buyers. The scheme hopes to encourage young people to remain on, or move to, the Irish islands to live, work and raise families.

The policy is underpinned by five strategic objectives:

  1. Revitalise population levels on the islands
  2. Diversify island economies
  3. Enhance health and wellbeing services
  4. Empower island communities
  5. Build smart, sustainable futures

The action plan for the Our Living policy is planned for 2023 – 2026 and includes 80 time-bound actions that will be implemented by various agencies and stakeholders.

Aerial view oh homes on Toraigh Island, County Donegal

The cash incentive caveats

There are several caveats to receiving the cash incentive. Prospective residents must purchase and own a property on one of the rural Irish islands. It must have been vacant for at least 2 years and built before 1993.

The money can’t be blown on a cruise or trip of a lifetime though – the grant can only be used for building work that would improve your home’s structure or design.

So basically, you could buy a ruin of a property and spend up to €84,000 to transform the property into your own Irish paradise.

The grants are an extension of a scheme already in place on the mainland called Croí Cónaithe.

The Our Living policy comes into official effect on July 1 and eligibility depends on the local authority. Learn more about the scheme here on the government website and read about ‘Croí Cónaithe’.

The policy officially comes into effect on July 1 and eligibility varies with each local authority. Find out more about the ‘Our Living Islands’ scheme here.

Sources: Euronews, Government of Ireland and the Our Living Policy

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