November 22, 2023
Embarrassing vacant homes tax figures show government is not serious about tackling vacancy and dereliction – Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing, Eoin Ó Broin TD, has described the Department of Finances figures on the number of properties liable for their new vacant homes tax as an embarrassment that shows that the Government is not serious about tackling vacancy and dereliction.

His comments were made after the Department of Finance released figures indicating that just 3,000 properties would be liable for the vacant home tax.

Teachta Ó Broin said:

“Vacancy and dereliction continue to blight our cities, towns and villages. According to the most recent census, up to 163,433 homes lie vacant and derelict.

“Of these, 48,000 have been vacant for five years from 2016 to 2022. Within the Private Rental Sector, the census recorded 33,653 vacants, 20% of the total number of unoccupied dwellings.

“Leaving homes vacant or derelict during a housing crisis is like hoarding food during a famine. It is simply not acceptable. The Government has for years been talking about its intention to tackle the scourge of vacancy and dereliction.

“Figures released by the Department of Finance late yesterday show that just 3,000 homes will be liable for the vacant homes tax. This figure is an embarrassment and shows that the Government is not serious about tackling vacancy and dereliction.

“Last week, we saw that just 21 vacant home refurbishment grants had been drawn down despite the scheme being open for 18 months. Previous Government schemes for tackling vacancy such as Repair and Leave and Buy and Renew have all chronically under performed.

“The vacant home tax was designed to fail. It doesn’t apply to derelict properties. It is too low. And now we learn it will only apply to a tiny fraction of the tens of thousands of vacant homes across the state.

“This latest revelation confirms that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are not serious about tackling the housing crisis. If they were, they would be moving heaven and earth to bring thousands of vacant and derelict homes back into use, particularly for affordable and social housing.

“Sinn Féin and the Oireachtas Housing Committee have set out what an ambitious plan for tackling vacancy and dereliction would look like. Unfortunately the Government continues to ignore our advice.”