Sinn Féin TD and member of the Oireachtas Housing Committee, Thomas Gould, has said that the new Croí Cónaithe Towns Fund is ‘just a drop in the ocean’ of what is actually needed to tackle vacancy and dereliction.
The Cork North-Central TD added that the scheme lacks ambition, and demonstrates that the government is not serious about tackling vacancy in our towns and villages.
Teachta Gould said:
“Census 2022 identified 166,752 vacant homes across the state. Of these, 48,000 have been vacant since 2016. The figures also include 35,380 vacant rental properties.
“The government’s announcement of the much-hyped Croí Cónaithe Towns Fund is deeply underwhelming.
“It targets just 2000 vacant homes up to the end of 2025. Given that it will take the remainder of the year to set up and process the first applications, it is unlikely that any homes will start to be purchased until 2023. This means that the annual target is just 666 per year.
“I welcome the fact that the scheme is open to all purchasers including first-time buyers, fresh starters, right-sizers and others looking to move back into town and village centres.
“However, the exclusion of towns within cities will come as a deep disappointment to many, including those of us in Cork who have been campaigning on this issue for years.
“The reality is the low targets and modest funding for this scheme is just a drop in the ocean of what is actually needed to tackle vacancy and dereliction.
“The scheme lacks ambition and demonstrates that the government is not serious about tackling vacancy in our towns and villages, let alone in our cities.
“A better approach has been proposed over a number of years by Sinn Féin.
“Government should set ambitious targets for bringing vacant properties back into use for social and affordable housing for each local authority and provide them with the financing mechanisms to deliver homes for social rental, affordable rental and affordable purchase.
“This kind of proactive and ambitious approach could return up to 4000 vacant homes into use every single year.”