Fianna Fáil General Election Candidate in Dublin Central, Mary Fitzpatrick has raised concerns regarding the low number of vacant properties declared on Dublin City Council’s Derelict Sites Register which aims to regenerate sites no longer in use and put them back on the market.

She commented, “When I was first elected to Dublin City Council in 2004, the state of dereliction in Dublin Central was a crisis near boiling point. Fifteen years on and sadly not much has changed or improved.

“The introduction of a Vacant Site Tax earlier this month is good news. In principle it has potential to tackle urban dereliction and subsequently aid an increase in the housing supply locally.

“Property owners who fail to develop property in prime locations that are in high demand need to be hit with a levy to spur them to kick-start refurbishment or sell up.

“There are more than 4,500 vacant properties in our area but less than 30 have been declared on the derelict sites register. I am very proud to have been brought up in the North Inner City and equally proud to still reside there but there is an abundance of untapped potential.

“The level of disadvantage experienced in our locality by those desperate for affordable housing while thousands of units lie idle in a derelict state unsettles very many.

“The Government’s much-heralded vacant site levy can only have a positive impact on the housing crisis if the State takes a greater role in supporting DCC to declare more vacant sites on the register.

“What’s more, the capital generated by the vacant site levy in the area should be ring-fenced and re-invested in locally. Property owners should be encouraged to regenerate their properties and put them into productive use through tax breaks

“Property owners need to be better encouraged to regenerate the site and put it back on the market. One thing is for sure, there are thousands more sites lying derelict and unregistered than the 27 that are currently,” she concluded.