Mayor candidate slams Limerick City and County Council for failing to collect €1.4million in vacant site levies

Limerick Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan.

LIMERICK City and County Council has failed to collect €1.4million in levies on vacant sites.

That’s according to local Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan, who received the figure in response to a parliamentary question.

The “outstanding vacant site levies must be collected”, Deputy Quinlivan said.

The Limerick TD, who is a candidate in the inaugural directly-elected mayoral race, criticised the local authority “for its failure to collect the vacant site levy on a large number of properties across Limerick”.

A total of €1,435,753 in levies were outstanding as of December 31, 2023, said Deputy Quinlivan.

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“The figures I have received showed that there were 427 vacant sites identified across Limerick city and county. Of these, only 131 of them were levied leaving an outstanding number of uncollected levies of €1,435,735 as of 31 December 2023,” he said.

Under the vacant site levy provisions in the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015, planning authorities are empowered to apply a vacant site levy of 3 per cent of the market valuation of relevant properties listed on local authority vacant site registers in 2018, and which relevant owners were liable to pay in January 2019.

The rate of the levy increased to 7 per cent for sites listed on local authority vacant sites registers from 2019 onwards, which site owners became liable to pay in January of the following year.

“To have so few sites levied and so little collected is an incredible failure and one that must be addressed. Last year only €259,910 was collected with an incredible €1,435.735 uncollected,” Deputy Quinlivan hit out.

The local TD added that people who do not pay their housing rent to the council “are rightly pursued for what is outstanding … and the same dedication to collection of outstanding amounts must be applied to the owners of derelict sites in Limerick”.

“We cannot continue to have a situation where such large amounts are owed to our council, limiting the services available. Limerick City and County Council can play a significant role in moving people out of homelessness and into long term stable accommodation,” he said.

“However, to do so, we must have available sites and we must ensure that those who have derelict sites either pay the levy due on them or make them available for repurposing.”

Limerick City and County Council was asked for a response.