Vacancy rates are as high as 11.5pc in some of our towns

The Government must urgently introduce a tax on vacant homes, according to Social Democrats Housing Spokesperson Cian O’Callaghan.

Deputy O’Callaghan made his comments as the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing met to discuss the issue of vacancy and dereliction.

“The Government is failing to tackle the issue of vacancy. We have thousands of people who are homeless and thousands of houses that are empty. In some areas over 11pc of properties are vacant – that is after you exclude houses that are vacant for a known reason. This has to change. We have to turn these houses into homes.”

“A report commissioned from GeoDirectory shows that vacancy rates are as high as 11.5pc in some of our towns. In total, 19 Local Electoral Areas were examined in detail and vacancy rates ranged from 0.2pc in Clontarf to more than 11pc in Kanturk and Bantry. Another survey by local authorities showed that vacancy rates are 5.2pc in Mayo, 4.4pc in Waterford and 4.2pc in Limerick. These levels are far too high.

“There are clear solutions to addressing vacancy. The Government should immediately introduce a tax on vacant houses and stop stalling with vague promises of action at some future stage.

“From a carbon emissions perspective, it makes far more sense to renovate and reuse existing houses as the most sustainable building is an existing one. This isn’t happening anywhere near the scale that it should. If the Government were serious about climate change and tackling our housing crisis, they would act with urgency to ensure the thousands of vacant houses that exist across the State are put to better use.”

14 December, 2021


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