Local Elections 2019

Louth TD calls on Minister to consider pilot scheme to bring vacant house back into use

Breathnach says vacant units could go some way towards solving the housing crisis

Donard McCabe

Reporter:

Donard McCabe

Louth TD calls on Minister to consider pilot scheme to bring vacant house back into use

Louth TD calls on Minister to consider pilot scheme to bring vacant house back into use

Louth TD Declan Breathnach has challenged Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy to seriously look at vacant units as a means towards solving the housing crisis.

The Fianna Fáil TD called on the Minister to appoint a dedicated housing officer to carry out a pilot project in County Louth, where vacant properties could be identified.

"I have been a TD for more than three years now and I have repeatedly told Minister Eoghan Murphy and Minister Damien English that the vacant housing numbers, both rural and urban, are at most 1 in 12", said Deputy Breathnach.

He continued:

"With Local Election canvassing in full swing, it is easy to verify that statistic.  I have been canvassing much of the county of Louth with various candidates and have seen it with my own eyes. 

"Besides the fact that it is shameful to have so many properties lying vacant while so many families are homeless, it is also not fair on neighbouring property owners having a neglected vacant unit next door.

"The system is flawed. I asked the Minister before, and again this week, to appoint a dedicated housing officer to carry out a pilot project in County Louth. 

"Louth has been very successful in leading the charge with Compulsory Purchase Orders so would be effective at demonstrating how cost-effective it would be to bring as many of these vacant units as possible back into use for the growing housing list.

"While the Minister outlined that he had instructed all local authorities to appoint vacant housing teams, I have spoken to several housing officers in different parts of the country who have verified nobody is on the ground identifying vacant properties.  They rely on the public to inform them instead.

"I have called for an officer to be appointed,who would go door to door, like those who are currently canvassing at present, and identify vacant houses, many of which are owned by the banks.

"The properties are not being used as often those banks are waiting for the market price to continue to rise. This situation cannot be allowed continue and a Pilot Scheme of bringing vacant houses in Louth back into use should be considered to prove how effective this could be", Deputy Breathnach concluded.