LIMERICK City and County Council has stepped up its efforts to tackle derelict sites with the publication this week of 37 Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) notices for sites in Rathkeale.
They include 33 houses in an unfinished and unoccupied housing estate at Ballywilliam, Rathkeale that has been derelict for several years, as well as buildings in Main Street and Lower Main Street in the town.
Earlier this year the Council secured €2.5 million in funding from the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF) to tackle dereliction in Rathkeale, Abbeyfeale, Bruff, Askeaton and Ardagh.
This is being viewed as a pilot project nationally and was the largest sum awarded to any project in the funding call.
Since setting up a dedicated Derelict Sites department just over two years ago, the Council has become one of the most active local authorities in the country in dealing with vacant and derelict property and has published around 100 CPO notices.
High profile sites that have been resolved include the Horizon Mall site in Castletroy.
The Council’s Community Development Director Gordon Daly said the quality of life in smaller towns and villages and the increased opportunities to work from home creates a strong opportunity to use derelict properties for affordable housing.
“We are fully committed and resourced to see through a comprehensive action plan to deal with dereliction right across the city and county and we would strongly encourage owners of derelict properties to act,” Mr Daly said.
“Tackling dereliction is a priority for the elected members of the Council and the communities they represent including tidy towns groups and other community development organisations.”
Mr Daly also confirmed that the Council would also commence the compulsory acquisition of a number of other derelict properties in the city and county over the coming weeks.
“The Council is now conducting almost 100 derelict property inspections a month and there has been a five-fold increase in the number of properties on the derelict sites register since 2018.
The Council is also using its powers under derelict sites legislation to levy derelict properties annually at 7 per cent of their market value.
In relation to Limerick city centre, Mr Daly pointed to the significant public and private sector investment currently under way.
“In order to further drive the regeneration of the city, it is essential that there is a robust approach to dealing with derelict properties in tandem with this investment”