Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West Aindrias Moynihan has hit out at the Government for failing to put in place the necessary supports and infrastructure to help revitalise small towns and villages.
Deputy Aindrias Moynihan made the comments following Fianna Fáil’s public meeting on housing held in the Silversprings Hotel in Cork last week which was open to members of the public and set out the party’s response to the growing housing crisis.
Deputy Aindrias Moynihan said, “The Action Plan for Rural Development was announced in January 2017 and in it the Government committed to establishing a grant to help first time buyers refurbish delict buildings in rural towns and villages. However we are now 15 months on from this announcement and it has transpired that the Government hasn’t even begun rolling out the grant.
“Towns and villages are struggling to survive as the Government is focusing its efforts on bringing jobs to the cities and large urban centres. Take Macroom for example, where there are more than 40 vacant commercial properties on the Main Street alone. There are also 20 vacant dwellings in Ballyvourney and the same story is repeated in towns and villages in Cork and right across the country.
“It’s clear that we need to see the rollout of supports to help refurbish vacant buildings in towns and villages. Fine Gael committed to implementing such a scheme but they are yet to deliver on their promises. Meanwhile more and more businesses are having to pull down the shutters for the final time and families are having to move to large urban centres to look for work.
“Fianna Fáil recognises that we need to have strong towns and villages in order to resolve the housing crisis. The cities are already struggling to cope due to the massive increase in demand for housing. We need to see investment in towns and villages to act as a counterbalance to the cities. In particular, we need to see investment in infrastructure such as broadband to help support job creation in towns and villages.
“Reinvigorating our town centres with shops and upstairs accommodation also offers the Government an opportunity to tackle our housing crisis. Making vacant properties fit to live in will increase the overall amount of accommodation available to people and help alleviate the housing crisis.
“The Government needs to seriously up its game on supporting the refurbishment of vacant properties in towns and villages. There is a crisis and it’s time Fine Gael recognised this.”