'All Avenues' Must Be Explored To Bring Vacant Houses Back Into Use

The Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy, has been urged to ensure that all avenues to bring housing units back into use are being explored.

Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West Aindrias Moynihan raised the issue in the Dáil earlier this week.

Deputy Moynihan said: "There are real delays in getting houses which are vacant, derelict, previously unlived in, or otherwise unfinished back into circulation. I believe the Minister has not been strong enough in making sure that these units are returned into the market.

"There are a host of reasons as to why a house is vacant – perhaps they are for sale, to rent or are under repair. However, there are also houses vacant because banks are sitting on them or because developers are just not able to finish them. There is a situation in Macroom where there is an apartment block vacant, which could house a considerable number of people if it were let. The Minister must address these blockages and get these units into use.

"Similarly, there are many houses which need a bit of repair work carried out to get them into circulation. For example, the Repair and Leasing scheme, which was aimed at bringing some of those vacant houses into circulation, had only delivered a total of 48 houses at the end of last year.

"While the scheme initially appeared popular, the reality is that only one in ten applicants were able to create a tenancy from it. It was clearly too restrictive and not operating effectively and I am asking Minister Murphy to re-examine its remit and see if it can be made more accessible.

"Water and wastewater infrastructure also needs to be addressed. There are a number of unfinished estates and sites, whereby people cannot progress their houses because there is no sewer connection available. These people, despite being financially approved to buy a home, they can’t because the house or estate is not serviced.

"Coachford is a classic example of both of these problems. There are a number of locals looking to build on their own land, but cannot get permission. Both of these problems arise because there is no sewer. The Minister needs to engage with Irish Water to ensure that these homes can be delivered as soon as possible.

"All avenues need to be explored to ensure that housing units, whether for rent or for sale, can be brought on stream in order to ease the housing crisis", concluded Deputy Moynihan.

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