Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow and East Carlow John Brady has said that it is unacceptable that there are over 4,000 vacant dwellings throughout County Wicklow and has called on the Government to publish its long awaited Vacant Homes Strategy.
Teachta Brady said:
“It is deeply disappointing that it appears that we will not have a Vacant Homes strategy in place until the autumn. Given the urgency of housing crisis and the fact that there are 4,698 properties lying idle across Wicklow, it would have made sense for the Government to announce measures to immediately bring some of these houses back into use.
“We welcome the fact that the Government is prepared to consider some type of Vacant Homes tax. It would seem it is moving towards the carrot and stick approach that Sinn Féin has advocated.
“While I understand the Minister of Finance Pascal Donohue needs to make provision for this sort of move in Budget 2018 there are measures that can be put in place today to help turn around vacant units in areas of high demand.
“The Department of Housing has three very good schemes in place at the moment. They are just chronically underfunded. The Government, in tandem with the local authorities, can start compiling a comprehensive Vacant Homes register that will give them the data they will need if and when a Vacant Homes tax is introduced.
“Minister Simon Coveney had no difficulty announcing a so-called ‘help to buy’ scheme three months in advance of last year’s budget. So, there is no reason why Government cannot press ahead the vacant homes strategy now and announce the details of any relevant tax provisions in October."
“There is no more time to delay on this issue. Returning Vacant Homes back into to use isn’t the silver bullet but many agree that it would be the most efficient use of time and funding given how quickly these units can be turned around.
“This will help to ease the housing pressures in Wicklow and this cannot be delayed.”