CSO highlights government failure to tackle vacancy and dereliction - Thomas Gould TD
Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central, Thomas Gould, has today slammed the government for failing to act on vacancy and dereliction in this state.
His comments come in response to preliminary census data released by the CSO which shows that vacancy in the state is now at 8 percent.
Teachta Gould said:
“Today’s statistics represent just a 1 percent drop in vacancy levels since 2016 when vacancies levels were at 9 percent.
“This is despite two government policies aimed at tackling vacancy and the establishment of a Vacant Homes Unit in the Department of Housing. This unit now has just one full-time staff member attempting to tackle over 100,000 vacant units.
“The actions by this government, and the previous government, to tackle vacancy have failed dismally.
“There are electoral areas, particularly in the West, where one in five potential homes are sitting empty. That is a disgrace.
“When I raised vacancy and dereliction in the Dáil Chamber with Minister Peter Burke today, he was very quick to tell me that we actually only had a vacancy rate of 4.4 percent.
“Today’s statistics show that this isn’t true. We have vacancy levels of 8 percent but in some areas this is far higher.
“I have no doubt that the government will attempt to refute and diminish these statistics, claiming they are falsely inflated and include homes which are temporarily vacant.
“Thankfully, the CSO has prepared for this. More than 30 percent (48,387) of the dwellings vacant in 2022 that could be traced back were also vacant in 2016.
“And of these 48,387 dwellings, nearly half (23,483) were also vacant in Census 2011. This means that over 20,000 potential homes in this state have been lying idle for more than 11 years or more.
“It is not just a scandal, it is an insult to those who are stuck in the Housing Crisis who are crying out for homes.
“We hear all of this talk from the government about solving the Housing Crisis, about reducing costs and protecting the environment. The cheapest, least impactful home is the one that has already been built.
“It is now time for an end to delays to the full implementation of a Vacant Property Tax. It is time for an end to a system that is all carrots and no sticks. Landhoarders and speculators cannot continue to profit while ordinary people suffer.”