Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that there are serious shortcomings with the Government’s vacant site levy. Deputy O’Brien was commenting as new figures received by Fianna Fáil show that just 140 sites across the country will be covered by the levy in 2019.

Deputy O’Brien explained, “The Government’s lack of ambition is very evident with just €9m anticipated to be raised out of the levy in 2019. As well as that, we have seen that a high proportion, 37 out of 137 appeals against the levy made to An Bord Pleanala, have been successful.

“It’s clear the full impact of the levy will be far short of what was promised by the Government almost five years ago now. Even with the increase due in 2020, the scale of the levy seems insufficient to tackle vacant sites and incentivise the development of badly needed homes.

“The fact that one in four appeals are successful is another note of concern and it begs the question of whether the criteria for a vacant site is being applied equally throughout the country.

“Each local authority seems to be taking a different approach to rolling it out, leading to serious inconsistencies. The rate of the levy itself needs to be reviewed annually in light of what impact it has on incentivising development. The Government seriously needs to review the levy and its implementation”, concluded Deputy O’Brien.