Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Chief Executive of Tipperary County Council, Mr Joe MacGrath to explain the persistence of a stubbornly high rate of vacant dwellings within the county. Deputy McGrath was speaking after he wrote to the Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy, urging him to facilitate a meeting with the Chief Executive in the hope that some clarification might be obtained on the matter:
“The Taoiseach and this government are always referring to the problem of supply and how important it is that we address that element of the problem.
Yet an absolute paralysis seems to exist at local authority level when it comes to addressing an already existing supply; that of vacant dwellings.
In Tipperary the Total number of vacant dwellings in 2011 was 4,817, out of a total Housing Stock of 38,390.
That was 12.5% of the total stock.
The latest 2016 indicators from the CSO reveal that out of a total Housing Stock of 38,937 the Vacancy Rate has only gone down to 11.9 per cent
That is less than a 1% drop in over five years; years which as we know have seen the crisis reach epidemic proportions.
If we continued at that rate it would be the year 2073 before the vacancy rate dropped to less than 1% just in Tipperary alone.
That demonstrates an almost total absence of political or local authority will to put vacant dwellings back in to the housing market.
Almost three weeks ago, Minister Murphy himself acknowledged to us in the Dáil that the Repair and Leasing Scheme and the Buy and Renew Scheme which have been developed to assist local authorities or Approved Housing Bodies to address the problem of vacant dwellings was an absolute failure.
He informed us that at the end of 2017, a total of 820 applications for the entire country had been received under the scheme but that only 9 homes had been delivered and tenanted in that time.
If we cannot even manage to get vacant and habitable dwellings up to scratch and back in to the market, what real hope do we have of addressing the massive supply deficit in terms of new builds,” concluded Deputy McGrath.