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Stanley calls on Government to use vacant housing to address crisis

30 September, 2015 - by Brian Stanley TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on the Environment, Brian Stanley TD, has called on the Government to utilise the huge number of vacant properties to tackle the housing and homelessness crisis. He was speaking during a debate on a Sinn Féin motion on housing in the Dáil this evening.

Deputy Stanley said:

“In order to tackle the crisis, Sinn Féin would significantly increase the availability of funding to local authorities in order to ensure long term large scale supply of social housing.

“We would also address the issue of vacant sites, and the fact that developers have been sitting on them since the collapse in property values.  I drafted and published a Derelict Sites Bill that seeks to address some of the issues related to developers sitting on vacant or abandoned sites.  There are 123 such sites in my county of Laois alone. If these had to be used they would contribute significantly to shortening the housing lists across the country.

“We would give local authorities the option to build houses on vacant state owned land. This could be used to supply much needed social housing. With regard to the immediate issue of homelessness which has forced many people into emergency accommodation or onto the streets, we would use the many empty buildings around the country to be renovated and used as accommodation.

“The amount of empty houses is staggering. According to one recent estimate there are currently 345,000 houses which are empty. That amounts to 17% of the overall housing stock. Of course many of these are probably unliveable, and the figure includes 60,000 empty holiday homes, but a large proportion could be made available. Many are in so-called ghost estates which could be acquired by local authorities through NAMA where the houses were in effect taken over by the state.” 

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