Advertisement For O'Reilly GlassAdvertisement For Smiths Of Drogheda
Wednesday, 22nd November 2023

‘Too many vacant homes in Drogheda’ says Councillor Cutlip

Front Page

Cllr. Emma Cutlip.

Local authorities in Louth must have greater Compulsory Purchase powers 

The council are underfunded and under-resourced, and their hands often tied with red-tape. 

Labour Councillor, Emma Cutlip has said that, with only 3,000 properties nationally being liable for the vacant home tax, it is proving to be an ineffective policy to tackle vacancy and dereliction. 

Cllr Cutlip said Government must revisit the vacant home tax exemptions and introduce more effective measures to tackle vacancy in Drogheda and across County Louth. 

“The figures on the vacant home tax take show that this new measure is only a drop in the ocean when it comes to tackling the scourge of vacancy and dereliction across Drogheda, County Louth and Ireland” Cllr. Cutlip said. 

“We now learn that only about 3,000 properties will be subject to the vacant home tax, but by any analysis this is way off the true scale of the issue nationwide. 

Advertisement For Drogheda Comedy Festival 2024

“To have one vacant home in the middle of a housing crisis is outrageous. But we know that there are many more than 3,000 vacant homes.

“Local Property Tax returns indicate that there are 57,206 vacant properties nationwide, and the Census estimates that the number is closer to 166,752, excluding 66,135 seasonal holiday homes. 

“If you walk around Drogheda you will see so many homes empty, homes that should have people and families living in them. 

“So what is going on here? As in many aspects of this Government’s record on housing, the approach to vacancy and dereliction has been abysmal. It has been marked by short-termism – not effective action. 

“The vacant homes tax was supposed to encourage people to bring their vacant property back into use, but if only 3,000 of the potentially 166,752 vacant homes are being impacted by this tax, it is a failed policy measure. 

“Labour are demanding a review of the exemptions under the tax and to introduce more effective measures to get these empty homes to the people and families in Drogheda who need them. 

“To get to grips with the scale of the vacancy and dereliction problem nationwide, a scourge on all our communities, Labour called for an increased Vacant Homes Tax, with a €2,000 minimum charge. We are now urging Government to examine the extensive exemptions list and drive change in the housing market. 

“Local authorities must also be given the teeth and funding needed to get to grips with this vacancy crisis. Louth County Council should be the first port of call to bring all the empty homes we see on a daily basis back into use.

“Thankfully, the will is there in Louth, as evidenced by the adoption of my proposal to create a 75% exemption of the development levy due on construction projects that renovate or regenerate derelict properties in Drogheda and across the county. But the council are underfunded and under-resourced, and their hands often tied with red-tape. 

“Government have no central database for the number of vacant properties nationwide, so how can they ensure that everyone who should be liable for the vacant home tax is declaring themselves? 

“If Government collated this data effectively and if an identified property remains empty, then the Vacant Housing Officers in each local authority could be resourced to proceed with CPO proceedings. Each local authority could have targets on returning vacant and derelict properties into use. 

“That would truly bring about change for those on the hard end of the housing crisis in Drogheda.”

Advertisement For O'Reilly Glass
Advertisement For Smiths Of Drogheda