A Cork city councillor has welcomed the news that the Department of Housing will encourage local authorities to scale up their use of compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) to tackle dereliction but said that local authorities must be provided with additional funding to repurpose these properties.
Labour councillor for the city's north-east ward John Maher has also backed the call of Labour's housing spokesperson, Senator Rebecca Moynihan, that this move must be backed up with a robust vacant property tax.
"Earlier this month it was reported that one in 20 vacant homes lie totally empty throughout the country.
"Labour have consistently called on Government to empower our local authorities and give them the resources to tackle this head-on and bring vacant homes back into the market.
"Once this measure is complete, Government needs to move and introduce a vacant property tax to bring some of these empty homes into supply.
"A strong vacant homes tax would actually encourage former homes, including permanently empty apartments and derelict houses, back into use," Mr Maher said.
"If the Minister is actually committed to improving the CPO powers locally, we will need to see an increase in funding for Cork City Council to repurpose these homes and tackle dereliction," he continued.
Mr Maher also said dedicated teams in local authorities must be tasked with mapping and activating vacant property.
"The Minister needs to get to work now on legislation that would compel owners of empty homes to register this.
"At the most fundamental level, housing in Cork needs to be delivered by Cork City Council.
"We also need to see a stick approach to motivate those with vacant homes our city to bring them back onto the market as soon as possible."