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Leah Farrell
housing for all

Grants now available of up to €50,000 to refurbish derelict and vacant homes

The Croí Cónaithe Fund was launched as part of the government’s Housing for All strategy.

LAST UPDATE | 14 Jul 2022

HOUSING MINISTER DARRAGH O’Brien has hailed the launch of a funding scheme for vacant rural properties despite criticism from the opposition. 

Speaking outside Government Buildings today, O’Brien described the €50 million Croí Cónaithe initiative as a “key delivery milestone” as the government delivered its latest Housing for All progress report. 

The €50 million Croí Cónaithe Fund aims to bring vacant and underused buildings back into residential use but Sinn Féin has said it is “just a drop in the ocean” of what is actually needed to tackle vacancy and dereliction.

Grants of up to €50,000 will be delivered through local authorities under the scheme to support the refurbishment of vacant and derelict properties, with priority given to applications in areas where the level of vacancy or dereliction is high.

The scheme is exclusively available to individuals or households for which the property will be their principal private residence.

It is not available to undertakings and/or developers, the government said, and properties considered for inclusion must be vacant for two years or more and built before 1993.

Speaking at today’s launch, Minister O’Brien said: “The Croí Cónaithe towns fund is another key delivery milestone in the government’s Housing for All plan and supporting home ownership.

Today, this scheme becomes our latest addition to boosting home ownership by supporting people to refurbish vacant properties to become their homes, enabling them to live in towns and villages and addressing vacancy through sustainable reuse.

O’Brien said the grant is “substantial” and is open for applications as of today. 

The grant scheme will be administered through local authorities.

“We’ve kept it simple, because we want it to work,” he said. 

O’Brien said he hopes to extend the scheme further into city areas with high vacancy in the coming months.

The city initiative will see developers secure up to €144,000 in funding for each apartment they build outside the Dublin area as part of its aim to deliver up to 5,000 apartments by 2026.

Speaking about the progress report for the Housing for All plan, the housing minister said the highest number of first-time buyers are drawing down mortgages since 2007, planning permission applications are up, as are commencements. 

Mentioning the launch of the First Home Scheme last week, which involves the Government taking a shared equity in a home, the minister said applications have already been received and have being approved. 

The Taoiseach said housing is priority for the Government. 

“If you take two big issues facing the country, housing and energy, we’ve got to cut through, we’ve got to get more houses built faster… and that means a fundamental overhaul of our planning system and it means challenging decisions. And there will be objections,” he said. 

Responding to the grant scheme announced today, Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said it did not go far enough.

“2,000 vacancies is all they’re targeting between now and 2025,” he told reporters. “The census told us we had 166,000.”

Ó Broin said the housing minister was “asleep at the wheel” and repeated Sinn Féin’s blistering criticisms of the government’s failure to tackle the housing crisis.

“They haven’t met any of their targets in two years, and I don’t think they’re going to meet their targets this year.

“The level of need now is greater than it has ever been, so even if they do meet those very, very modest targets, it’s not going to be anywhere near enough.”

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