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Amidst severe Housing Crisis Government is one of the largest vacant property landowners – Peadar Tóibín TD

13 June, 2018

Sinn Féin TD for Meath West Peadar Tóibín highlighted that one of the largest owners of vacant buildings and land in the country are in fact the government, who are doing little to convert these state assets into homes to help resolve the housing crisis.   

Deputy Tóibín said:

“A home is pivotal for the wellbeing of families. When people are without a secure home everything else can fall apart.

"Physical and mental health, nutrition, education, relationships, work all suffer. There is no greater way to quench opportunity or to steal the future from a child than to make them homeless.

“It is my view that this government is in large part the architect of this housing crisis.

"Fine Gael ideologically have been allergic to state investment in housing for years.

"Fine Gael have radically distorted the housing market by unfair tax incentives to vulture funds and international landlords.

"Fine Gael has had a policy of inertia when it comes to dealing with land owners sitting on vacant properties.

“But it gets worse. In the middle of the most grievous housing crisis in generations this government itself is one of the largest owners of vacant buildings, homes and land in the country and is doing precious little to resolve it.

“Three years ago I submitted a Parliamentary Question and found that government departments and state agencies were presiding over thousands of acres of vacant lands and buildings totalling 155,000sq foot standing idle.

“This did not include land that was owned by NAMA. It did include previous government follies such as Thornton Hall where in 2005 a 150-acre site was bought for €50m by the then Justice Minister Michael McDowell to build a 1,400-cell prison. 

“Just in the last few weeks I submitted another PQ to the same departments on the same issue. Their response was again incomplete, but it showed something very sinister.

“In the heart of this homelessness disaster the vast majority of those same land banks and empty buildings today remain vacant, empty and derelict just like this government.”   

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