The Dáil heard from Denis Naughten TD this week that 44,905 residential and commercial properties are currently empty in the five Connacht counties and the three border counties of Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan with many of those being vacant family homes close to schools and services, including having 1,000mbps broadband outside the door.
Denis Naughten told the Taoiseach that the figures compiled by the Northern and Western Region Assembly clearly show that these vacant properties alone could more than meet Ireland’s total national annual housing requirement of 33,000 homes.
“The reality is that the housing crisis is not just about a lack of houses, but also our failure to have empty homes occupied by families, particularly those in our towns and villages. In fact, there are whole streets in our towns and villages that have not had a football kicked on them in a generation” said Denis Naughten
“If these homes were occupied there would be an immediate dividend to the State and to rural Ireland as well as to homeless families. And while Government has acknowledged the opportunity presented by these vacant homes, it has yet to follow through on a plan to have these homes occupied.”
Using his own constituency as an example, Denis Naughten said: “We have the perverse situation where even though we have a 14% vacancy rate, with 4,090 empty homes throughout County Roscommon, there are just 18 homes for rent and 236 for sale, according to Daft.ie. Yet local auctioneers have waiting lists for people looking to buy or rent family homes.
“In East Galway, where demand is considerably higher for housing, many of our villages do not have access to any wastewater treatment facilities. In fact, in a number of instances we have had raw sewage running through the streets.
“But since the publication of the Housing for All strategy which committed to the efficient use of our existing housing stock the Government passed the reforms to nursing home fair deal scheme without addressing the treble tax on nursing home residents who wish to rent out their former family home.
“While I believe that our local towns, villages and rural areas can benefit from this plan, this must now be followed through with actions especially in the West, North West and border counties where we have such large vacancy rates,” concluded Denis Naughten.
watch the full discussion here: https://youtu.be/ihy3DY_g8Uw