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Housing Crisis

Should compulsory purchase orders be used for vacant properties?

Fianna Fail thinks they should.

FIANNA FÁIL IS suggesting that the government implement a programme to compulsory purchase vacant property in order to help ease the housing crisis.

The suggestion comes as new figures from show that there were just 3,084 properties available to rent nationwide on 1 May, close to the record low from last year.

The lack of supply has led to rents that increased by an average of 13.4% in the first quarter of this year.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke, Fianna Fáil TD said that there are “dilapidated properties” around the country that could be compulsorily purchased by local authorities.

“I say to Minister Coveney and to Fine Gael now at this time, that they have at their disposal compulsory purchase powers that are there to address social need,” Cowen said.

I say to them, use them. Use them extensively and use them immediately, they have the potential to get results and they will crystallise the issues that are holding this property back.

The issue of vacant property sitting idle has been raised repeatedly by homeless activists.

Last year’s Census recorded that there were a total of 183,312 vacant houses and apartments across the country, as well as 62,148 vacant holiday homes.

Cowen said that up to 13% of available housing stock is not in use.

He claims that a programme of compulsory purchase would also encourage property owners to make use of unused properties.

“I think there should be a programme initiated by the minister and the department where local authorities should be instructed to start proceedings to compulsorily purchase those properties to bring them into use. And I’m saying where it cannot be done it will crystallise in that process.”

Pictures: Thousands turn out in Dublin for May Day protest calling for action on housing crisis >

Read: ‘This is just a drop in the ocean’: Pictures show rats and mould in emergency accommodation >

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