Fianna Fáil TD for Louth and Meath East Declan Breathnach is calling on Minister Simon Coveney to address the shortfall in social housing by utilising the large number of vacant units currently in Ireland.
Deputy Breathnach said, “The preliminary 2016 census results show that there are 5,005 vacant units in Co. Louth alone. Minister Coveney should examine if any of these houses could be used by the local authority for social housing.
“In January 1992 and again in 2015 I brought a motion to Louth County Council with fellow Councillor Peter Savage to help facilitate this. The plan involved financing the refurbishment of the vacant units to a habitable condition which would cost far less than the building of new units.
“The plan would see the introduction of a graduated grant scheme which would be available to the owners of these units to carry out the necessary works. The grants would be available in varying degrees in return for the houses being leased to the Council for social housing.
“The benefit of the re-introduction of these vacant dwellings for use by families on the housing lists would be many-fold. The scheme would improve the social fabric of our rural communities. It would rejuvenate small towns and villages with families with school going children moving in.
“I will be calling on the Minister to look at this proposal, which would go some way to alleviate the current housing crisis”.