At this month’s meeting of Tipperary County Council, Councillor Davy Dunne made the suggestion during an hour-long discussion on housing.
He says allowing people who don’t require a 3-bedroom house to move into a retirement village without losing their assets would mean that after they pass, another person could follow the same route and free up more homes.
The Sinn Fein councillor says a mechanism needs to be put in place for downsizing as family dynamics have changed over the years.
“The whole premise of it is downsizing, or “rightsizing,” as they call it. Can we free up three-bedroom houses or four-bedroom houses? Even ones in the countryside where people just can’t manage because they’re past the age of cutting grass, looking after hedging, and everything like that, and then getting those people to come into retirement villages.
“The way I look at it is, the family makeup has changed now. We needed three bedrooms all along because that’s what the family was: a husband, wife, and three kids. But now it’s not; it’s different. There are single people with children and divorced people. We need a mix of housing.”
At the meeting, Director of Services, Sinead Carr, confirmed that Tipperary County Council are in communications with two interested parties for these villages in the hopes of offering people who are overly accommodated to move out to free up housing in the county.
It is not yet known who the private companies are or where the retirement villages will be located.
The Carrick-on-Suir councillor believes the bigger towns would be the preferred location for the two interested parties.
“It’s been done in the past, and it’s been done in Carrick-on-Suir. We have a place in Carrick that does it; you pay €12,000 upfront and you pay €250 a month for your keep of the place, but you’ll never own it, so when you pass away, the next person comes along and takes over from you. Sinead Carr said there were two private companies interested in doing retirement villages, and they were working with the council on that. I would imagine that the bigger towns would be the primary places for these.”