Housing Ministers should be demanding more CPOs from Councils
Labour Spokesperson on Equality, and General Election Candidate for Dún Laoghaire,Councillor Deirdre Kingston has called on Ministers Eoghan Murphy and Damien English to issue a circular to local councils directing them to pursue Compulsory Purchase Orders on vacant and derelict sites.
Speaking today Cllr. Kingston said:
“Last night I had a motion passed at the local area committee to pursue two Compulsory Purchase Orders on local sites in Dun Laoghaire. Unfortunately, those motions seem to be the exception in the middle of a housing crisis, where they should be the norm. I was very happy that my motion got unanimous support, continuing the work of the Labour group on the DLRCC of championing public housing provision.
“I am calling on Ministers Eoghan Murphy and Damien English to issue a circular to every council in the country directing them to use CPOs as a primary means of increasing housing stock in the short term. Earlier this year Minister Murphy threatened to redirect local authority powers over housing and give the Department of Housing sole control over the issue.
“While I am glad that this role remains in the purview of local authorities, stern words and empty threats from the Minister are not enough. If he wants to see a step up from councils and to support councilors who are working to deliver housing now, he should get involved and start using his powers to direct councils to increase the rate of CPOs. It is an obvious solution to start using CPO’s on vacant and derelict sites to deliver housing for all those people languishing on waiting lists.
“It is also time for the Minister to go back to basics and implement the recommendations of the Kenny Report, which prioritises the purchase of land for public use and an end to land banking – which the Labour Party has continually been advocating for. I raised this directly with the Minister when he appeared at our Council a few months ago, and he said he was going to speak with the Attorney General about measures to stop land banking. This needs serious political will but unfortunately, we are seeing little of that in the current Government.
“Fine Gael are squandering the economic recovery gained on the back of hard sacrifices made by the public during the recession by not now using public funds to guarantee public housing when it is most desperately needed. What we need to see is the Minister for Housing honouring the Irish Constitution and regulating property by the principles of social justice.”