11 December 2023
By Mary Bermingham
We need state-wide measures to End to Scourge of Vacancy & Dereliction say Labour South candidates
Labour’s Southside Candidates for the local Elections in 2024, Laura Harmon (Cork South West) and Peter Horgan (Cork South East) have said the vacant home tax is an ineffective policy measure. Government must revisit the vacant home tax exemptions and introduce more effective measures to tackle vacancy.
Ms Harmon said:
“It is an outrage that in the midst of an acute housing crisis, over 900 properties across the South West Ward, running from Bishopstown to Ballincollig sit idle, either vacant or derelict. The prevalence of dereliction and vacancy amid a dire housing shortage is a clear failure of government policy.
“To have one vacant home in the middle of a housing crisis is outrageous. But we know that there are over 3,000 vacant properties on Cork City’s Southside. Local Property Tax returns indicate that there are 57,206 vacant properties nationwide, and the Census estimates that the number is closer to 166,752, excluding 66,135 seasonal holiday homes.
“Families are struggling to secure suitable accommodation, while properties, which could serve as homes, remain neglected. This issue is not only about housing; it’s about fundamental social responsibility. Every vacant or derelict property represents a missed opportunity to provide a safe and secure home for someone in need.
Mr Horgan said:
“The vacant homes tax was supposed to encourage people to bring their vacant property back into use, but if only 3,000 of the potentially national 166,752 vacant homes are being impacted by this tax, it is a failed policy measure.
“Labour are demanding a review of the exemptions under the tax and to introduce more effective measures to get these empty homes to the people and families who need them.
“To get to grips with the scale of the vacancy and dereliction problem nationwide, a scourge on all our communities, Labour called for an increased Vacant Homes Tax, with a €2,000 minimum charge. We are now urging Government to examine the extensive exemptions list and drive change in the housing market. Local authorities must also be given the teeth and funding needed to get to grips with this vacancy crisis.
“If Government collated this data effectively and if an identified property remains empty, then the Vacant Housing Officers in each local authority could be resourced to proceed with CPO proceedings. Each local authority could have targets on returning vacant and derelict properties into use.
“That would truly bring about change for those on the hard end of the housing crisis.”