There needs to be EU-wide discussions on the most effective measures to tackle the issue of vacant homes and dereliction, according to Rory Hearne, the Social Democrats’ European Election candidate in Midlands-North-West.

Mr Hearne, a prominent housing campaigner, author and academic, made his comments after viewing derelict buildings in Leixlip, Co Kildare, with Cllr Nuala Killeen, the party’s local election candidate for the area.

 He said:

“With just days to go to polling on June 7, I am determined to show how MEPs can deliver solutions to the housing crisis. Key to this is an EU-wide discussion on how member states can tackle vacancy and dereliction and learn from each other’s experiences.

“There are 166,000 vacant homes around Ireland. It is an utter scandal there are so many vacant and derelict properties that could and should be brought into use as homes.

“This is at a time when there are more than 4,000 children living in emergency homeless accommodation, thousands of people in hidden homelessness and a generation locked out of home ownership.

“Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have completely failed to tackle this issue. The Government must ensure that these buildings are repurposed and provide sufficient funding to turn them into homes.

“If elected as an MEP this Friday, I will push hard in Europe for measures to tackle dereliction. I believe this is a vital response to solving the housing crisis, and the most sustainable one.

“I have put housing central to my campaign for Europe – and am determined to bring the housing issue to the heart of European power.”

Mr Hearne has also pledged to push for other EU solutions to the housing crisis as an MEP.

These include a European Union Home Guarantee and Action Plan for affordable housing; a change to EU state aid rules and expansion of EU funds from the European Investment Bank to ensure that Ireland can deliver social and affordable homes at scale; and EU regulation of investor and vulture funds, as well as on short-stay accommodation, like Airbnb, to increase the supply of long-term homes.

He has called for real action on the European commitment to end homelessness by 2030 using the Platform for Combatting Homelessness. He also wants to see progress on an EU recommendation for a new scheme to deliver 100 per cent redress for victims of mica and pyrite.

Cllr Nuala Killeen, the Social Democrat local election candidate in Leixlip, said:

“It is so important to tackle vacancy and dereliction in Leixlip, where commercial vacancy is at 15.9 per cent – the highest in Kildare. A vote for myself and Rory on Friday would be a vote for tackling vacancy and dereliction.”

June 5, 2024

Back to all Posts