Fianna Fáil TD for Louth Declan Breathnach has called on Minister for Housing Simon Coveney to extend the recently announced ‘Repair and Lease’ scheme to Louth without delay.

The scheme is currently being rolled out in Carlow and Waterford and is designed to bring derelict buildings back into use. It will provide funding for property owners to repair vacant and unused homes, and make them available for families on local authority waiting lists.

Deputy Breathnach said, “Louth is currently experiencing an acute housing shortage which is having a detrimental impact on families. It is leading to increased rents, particularly in the areas closest to Dublin. The knock on effect of this is that people can’t find suitable accommodation and many families are being forced to move away from areas that they have lived in for years.

“I have long argued that the Government needs to implement a scheme to help refurbish derelict buildings in Louth to help address this housing shortage. The preliminary 2016 census results show that there are 5,005 vacant units in County Louth alone. These should be used to help accommodate people on the housing waiting list. This in turn will free up homes in the private rental sector which will help drive down rental costs.

“Many of the derelict buildings across Louth were inherited by people who simply cannot afford to invest the necessary money to bring them up to a habitable standard. They need assistance from the Government to help repair these buildings, and in the long-run this will reduce costs for the state as it will lead to a reduction in housing waiting lists.

“The scheme recently launched by Minister Coveney is a welcome development, and a similar proposal was contained in the Fianna Fáil election manifesto. However it is disappointing that the scheme is currently only operating in Carlow and Waterford. I believe it should be extended to Louth without delay. There really is no excuse for having so many derelict buildings in Louth when there is such a high demand for housing,” concluded Deputy Breathnach.