Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Marc Mac Sharry has called on the government to give local authorities the freedom to build houses and cut down on the red tape associated with applications to the Department to fund housing schemes in each county.  

Deputy Mac Sharry explained, “The local authorities effectively can give permission to a person building one thousand houses yet if that same local authority wanted to build ten houses in their own name they have to go through an administrative nightmare before a shovel is in the ground. Many examples give an average of 3 to 6 years from concept to turn key. 

“When will the government realise that we have to strip out all this unnecessary duplication? If they are capable of giving planning to me, they are capable of planning for themselves. Let us get on with building rather than supporting the perpetual administrative merry-go-around which county councils must currently endure.

“The Minister must also address the increasing crisis of vulture funds buying up entire developments. These properties, which were once identified by first time buyers, are being removed from the market by groups swooping in and buying them up in one go. Then incredibly they can pocket the rent tax free under the scheme developed by Fine Gael to attract these parasites to our Country. 

“In addition, many streets throughout the north west have empty retail units. With changes to retail property requirements some could be more appropriate for housing. This could breathe new life into our village and town centres with an appropriate mix of retail and residential.  One would support the other.  Property owners with long term vacant former commercial and retail premises on our streetscapes should be incentivised to alter the use, making the units available for rent or sale for residential use. 

“I have met with hundreds upon hundreds from Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, and Donegal who are either renting or living at home longer than they would care to be. Here are a variety of proposals which the government could and should take on board. There is simply no excuse for the continuing ineptitude and lack of action by Government,” concluded Deputy Mac Sharry.