Dublin: Applications for the Croí Cónaithe Vacant Property Grant Scheme are now being accepted. Darragh O’Brien, Minister of Housing, revealed that 1,600 applications had been received so far. The minister was speaking to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Housing, Local Government, and Heritage.
The grant was given to houses built before 1993. The scheme is now being applied to houses built prior to 2007. According to O’Brien, a vacancy unit has also been established in his department for this purpose. In each council, a special vacant housing officer has been appointed.
30 Special Vacant Housing Officers
Since January, a new Vacant Homes Action Plan has been developed. A new 150 million Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, as well as a Vacant Fund, have been established. A project was launched to collect information on vacant properties in each area. A vacant home officer was appointed for the same. The minister said that 30 out of 31 local authorities now have these officers.
There are more than one and a half lakh vacant houses.
According to last year’s census, around 1,67,000 houses and apartments are estimated to be vacant. Out of these, 48,500 houses remain vacant during 2016–2022. In 2011, 2016, and 2022, 23,500 houses were uninhabited.
Sinn Féin’s Thomas Gould and People Before Profit’s Richard Boyd Barrett both called for the eviction ban to be reinstated. They also described the sufferings of the sick and others on the streets. Minister O’Brien, on the other hand, stated that the eviction ban would not be extended.
Who benefits from the development levy?
The minister also explained that the government had announced a relaxation of residential development levies to reduce the cost of developers. According to the minister, eliminating the development levy can save an average of 12,500 euros on the cost of building a house. However, committee independent senator Victor Boyhan questioned why this levy amount is not returned to first-time home buyers. He did not, however, receive a response.
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