The 'Support Bawnboy' campaign wants to entice people and families to relocate to the small Cavan village
Bawnboy in Co Cavan is hoping to entice people to relocate to their small rural village in hopes of fighting rural decline.
A Facebook page entitled ‘Support Bawnboy’ wants to convince families to move to the village with a population of roughly 300 people that organizers describe as “an enriching, safe and inexpensive place to live.”
Fast, reliable broadband, small class sizes for children, a thriving GAA club, and cheap house prices, all away from the "hustle and bustle" of city life are among the selling points that locals are conveying to potential residents.
At the forefront of the push is the threat that Bawnboy's local primary school St. Aidan's could lose one of its three teachers if they do not increase enrollment by September 30.
Ann Maguire, St. Aidan's principal, told RTE: "We are three pupils short of retaining our third teacher so the push is on now before the 30th of September to get three more pupils into the school.”
"At the moment we have a very good teacher-pupil ratio. If we lose a teacher, we'll have very big classes and each teacher will have four classes. One family with three kids could solve our problem. We're very eager to have any children.”
Three pupils short of the quota needed to keep its school's third teacher, a small village in Co Cavan has started a campaign calling on families to move there | https://t.co/r7461wQbDu pic.twitter.com/XkG2KOQ0hj— RTÉ News (@rtenews) August 20, 2019
Maguire further told The Irish Times: “They’re not going to get as much one-to-one interaction as they would have in a smaller class. The children here are fantastic and they look out for each other but the teacher can only do so much. You just don’t have the same time to spend with each child.”
Of the area, Maguire says: “The big selling part is the beautiful scenery, it’s a lovely, tranquil part of the country. It’s only about 25 minutes from Cavan town and Enniskillen and about two hours from Dublin. There’s a multitude of different organizations for young children to take part in activities.”
Maguire also spoke with local Councillor Sarah O'Reilly:
#Bawnboy,is calling for families to relocate to the village in hope of attracting 3 additional students & preventing their school from losing a teacher. House prices & rentals are affordable,class sizes are smaller and broadband is fast.Leave the rat race #BeginInBawnboy, #Cavan pic.twitter.com/WS3QU6LFQZ— Cllr Sarah O’Reilly (@sarahreilly30) August 22, 2019
In 2018, Glangevlin, another village in Co Cavan, faced a similar situation when their local primary school needed to increase numbers to retain their teachers. As such, the ‘Stand with Glan’ campaign launched a website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter page to attract newcomers to the area.
The campaign was successful, as the school ended up enrolling enough pupils to keep their teachers.
While The Irish Examiner notes that rural Ireland has technically seen in an increase in population in recent years- the 2016 census showed 1.75m people living in rural areas, up from 1.5m 20 years ago - the data factors in popular commuting towns in Meath, Kildare, and Laois.