LABOUR Party Housing spokesperson Jan O’Sullivan has welcomed Government moves to introduce measures that will bring vacant properties back into use across the country.
“I welcome the fact that Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has finally woken up to the fact that there are nearly 200,000 empty homes across the country that could be used to ease the pressure of the housing crisis,” Deputy O’Sullivan said this week.
“While Minister Murphy has yet to publish the Vacant Homes Strategy, I welcome the measures he announced over the weekend to bring vacant properties back into use.”
The Limerick City TD also supports the call by the Peter McVerry Trust for each county and city council to appoint vacant homes officers to inspect properties and assess the reasons why some properties are being left vacant and to work with their owners to have them occupied again.
“During budgetary negotiations taking place over the coming months, Minister Murphy needs to ensure a vacant property tax will be introduced. This type of tax is the most effective tool to bring properties that have been empty for a long period of time back on stream,” the Limerick politician commented.
“People all over the country can point to at least one abandoned property in their own area. I’m glad the Minister is finally making moves to bring back vacant properties into use and I look forward to a full suite of measures being introduced following the publication of the Vacant Homes Strategy that we were promised in July 2016.
“This is hopefully the first step in easing the crisis. Nearly 200,000 empty properties cannot be tolerated when so many are without a home,” she concluded.
Peter McVerry Trust chief executive Pat Doyle described the measures announced by Minister Murphy as important in tackling the huge levels of empty homes.
Mr Doyle said that urgency remained a critical element of the response to the housing and homelessness crisis.
“We know that every house delivered, be it re-using old houses or building new ones, will take time and that is why it is absolutely critical that we operate with a sense of urgency at every stage of the process until we get people into their homes,” he added.
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