We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Leaders' Questions

Gilmore: Vacant social housing stock is a problem, but we're fixing it

During Leaders’ Questions yesterday he outlined measures to be introduced by government to address the problem.

TÁNAISTE EAMON GILMORE has faced calls from the opposition to address the large amount of vacant social housing stocking, which he admitted has become “a problem”.

He was speaking during Leaders’ Questions yesterday, where Sinn Féin’s Jonathan O’Brien asked when would the government “address the housing crisis”.

“Almost 8000 families are on  the housing waiting list,” he said, “with a stock of  500 houses lying idle”.

“The number of people relying on rent supplement is counting to rise, and the cuts to that rent supplement are forcing more and more people into financing hardship — and in some cases to homeless.”

Deputy O’Brien speaking during Leaders’ Questions. (Image Credit: Screengrab/

The Tániste responded by outlining a number of additional units which the government are in the process of adding to the housing stock.

5,000 will units will be added in 2014, including new builds and those from the not-for-profit sector, 500 from NAMA before the end of the year with a total of 2000 through lifetime of the government, and 300 long-term vacant units will be brought back into use in 2014 as part of funding introduced in Budget 2014.

Abandoned the issue

Deputy O’Brien called this “a drop in the ocean”.

He criticised the number of cuts introduced by the current government, to which the Tánaiste responded that they have not abandoned the issue of social housing, but they said the economic crisis had to be dealt with:

“I don’t know if you missed it, but the country was broke. The country ran out of money, Deputy, at the end of 2010. This government has had to restore the country’s finances”.

The Tánaiste stressed that a number of the houses which count as vacant housing stock are part of the natural turn-over of properties, where there is a changeover of tenants, but that there is a large number vacant:

“There is a problem in relation to vacant housing stock. About 3% of the local authority housing stock is vacant.”

‘Small government loan’

Clúid Housing Association is recommending a new funding model be introduced to tackle the problem.

They describe the process as enabling not-for-profit housing associations to “use a small government loan to leverage much larger loans from financial institutions”.

The housing association would then own the dwellings, and then in turn rent them out to those on the housing list. A pilot scheme is already active in Dublin.

Read: Focus Ireland says €400 million investment needed in social housing >

More: New €32 million investment in over 260 social housing units >

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.