Cian O'Callaghan TD

To date, all we have gotten from this government are delays, excuses and prevarications

Any further delay to the introduction of a vacant homes tax is inexcusable and incomprehensible, according to Social Democrats Housing Spokesperson Cian O’Callaghan.

“There were reports at the weekend that the introduction of a vacant homes tax is in doubt after Revenue recorded a low level of vacancy across the country. However, the data gathered by Revenue, via the Local Property Tax (LPT), is flawed on a number of fronts.

“It was recently reported that 380,000 homes have yet to update their LPT – one in five homes. How many of these homes are vacant? The LPT data was also a self-reporting exercise – meaning, householders were being asked to volunteer to pay additional tax. On top of that, there was no penalty for failing to report ownership of a vacant home.

“These, and other significant issues with Revenue’s data, have been highlighted by housing campaigners Jude Sherry and Frank O’Connor, who have recorded 700 derelict properties within 2km of Cork city centre alone. There is nothing to suggest similar levels of vacancy and dereliction are not replete elsewhere across the country.

“There is also strong data from GeoDirectory, which has recorded more than 90,000 vacant residential properties across the country and at least a further 20,000 homes that are derelict. Why does the government prefer Revenue’s incomplete data to that provided by GeoDirectory?

“A vacant homes tax was promised as far back as 2016 – but has yet to materialise. Meanwhile, the housing crisis has continued to deteriorate. We have heard enough rhetoric from this government. What we need now is action. Instead, to date, all we have gotten are delays, excuses and prevarications.

“The government must act now, without any further delay, and immediately introduce a tax to help bring vacant homes back into use. Any further delay would be both inexcusable and incomprehensible.”

16 May, 2022


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