Minister for Housing all spin no substance

Senator Rebecca Moynihan
16 December 2021

Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said the current housing minister’s spin on a vacant homes tax is not fooling anyone. Following the government’s failure to introduce such a measure in this year’s budget, Senator Moynihan said we need to see genuine radical action in housing by implementing a vacant homes tax and providing more powers to local authorities.

Senator Moynihan said:

“Government have bottled the opportunity to have a vision for our housing system that puts affordability for people front and centre. It’s hard to read the constant spin from a Minister who has no interest in actually introducing radical changes in housing like a vacant home tax.

“There was an opportunity to introduce this and a range of other measures in this year’s budget but instead of doing so government ploughed ahead with their favoured carrot approach for investors. Their talk and their policy is very different.

“We still see properties lying vacant around the country and there’s no impetus from government to bring it back into the use. A strong vacant homes tax would actually be able to bring former homes, including permanently empty apartments and derelict houses, back to use. By introducing this and improving CPO powers and funding for local authorities to repurpose empty homes, government could get more houses into supply.

“This week in the Oireachtas committee we heard that Dublin City Council were not using their CPO powers and I’ve no doubt that this is replicated elsewhere throughout the country. Our local authorities are absolutely fundamental to the delivery of housing and so they need to have robust powers to provide homes. This is goes further than CPO – we need our local authorities to have the power to carry out compulsory sales orders and compulsory rental orders.

“Having a safe, secure home is a human right, it’s the benchmark of a decent society and Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have failed to deliver this since 2016. The broken market needs heavy State intervention, with strong local authority powers, to strongly motivate those with vacant homes to bring them back onto the market.”

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