“It’s very hard to stomach walking past a perfect boarded up house in my estate for the last 12 months while hearing homeless figures climb and rents rising. The Green Party is trying to introduce legislation that will help bring properties like this back to life
“It is absolute madness that we have a situation in Ireland where we have 27 empty homes for every one person in emergency accommodation. We also have significant issues with dereliction, and land hoarding by developers. This needs to change, and change fast.
“We have almost 5,000 of empty houses here in Fingal, with 198,358 empty nationwide, according to the CSO. This number doesn’t include derelict buildings, and doesn’t measure the potential housing units that could be developed on vacant land in city and town centres.
“We need to start bringing life back to our towns, villages and estates. Through installing units above shops, refurbishing derelict buildings, and tackling land hoarding. That’s what we’re trying to do with the Living Cities Bill.
“The aims of this Bill are simple, and have the potential to instigate meaningful change. The bill aims to remove the minimum site size from the current vacancy legislation, which is currently set at larger than a basketball court, which rules out a huge number of sites. This would bring far more vacant and derelict sites under the scope of the legislation. There is a real opportunity here. The country is full of empty buildings and vacant sites. These dwellings are pre-existing infrastructure and returning them back to a usable condition would go a long way not just towards providing more cost effective solutions to tackle the crisis, but would also be of benefit in terms of reinvigorating communities.”