Non-Gaelic speakers will be refused planning permission to build houses along the Connemara coastline in County Galway, according to new council legislation.

Unless settlers in theGaeltacht, or Gaelic-speaking area, can sufficiently impress Galway County councillors with their ability to speak the local language, they willbe turned away.

According toThe Times, the strict rules were introduced into a local development plan by councillor Pol O’ Foighil, in an attempt to halt the decline in Irish-speaking in the county, caused by foreign arrivals.

The ban is scheduled to become law in May next year, unless attempts to turn it round prove successful. A spokesman for the council said he was unable to comment on the details of the plan until it had been fully ratified by the council.

Connemara is the largest of the seven Gaelic-speaking regions in Ireland where the native language is regularly used in everyday life.

Pol O’ Foighil has said: ‘This law is the only hope of stopping the flood of English-speaking families coming in.’