October 4, 2022

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Two families from Co Meath and Co Limerick have succeeded in securing rent free accommodation on Inis Meáin for nine months.

Comhlacht Forbartha Inis Meáin said 1,600 people expressed interest in their initiative, the aim of which was to increase the number of school going children on the island off Co Galway.

Twenty families out of the 1,600 who applied were shortlisted and asked to submit a video application and four families took part in an interview on August 19th.

Out of these four, two were deemed successful and were offered accommodation.

First place in the competition were the Mac an tSaoir family from Co Meath, and the Sheehy family from Co Limerick were also deemed successful.

As a result, both families will live on Inis Meáin rent free for nine months, and will only have to pay for household bills and utilities on the island.

Chairwoman of Comhlacht Forbartha Inis Meáin, Mairéad Ní Fhátharta, said that the Comhlacht are “very proud” of the initiative regarding the provision of a house rent free for the academic year: “It has now come to a close and it is especially heartening that so many people entered the competition,” she said.

“It generates hope for the Gaeltacht areas that so many people expressed such an interest in the Irish language and in living in a rural area,” Ms Ní Fhátharta said.

Comhlacht Forbartha Inis Meáin was established by islanders in 2016 to help promote the island, ensure services, preserve the language, attract funding and ensure a better life for the people of Inis Meáin, according to its website.

The island has a preschool, a primary school, and a secondary school along with a newly opened digital tech hub for remote working.

Inis Meáin is the smallest of the Aran Islands in terms of population, with around 183 people living there according to the 2016 census.

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