Vacant home tax 'probably not a game-changer' for housing crisis, says Taoiseach

The Taoiseach has said a vacant home tax is being considered but has warned there is no "quick-fix solution" to the homeless crisis, writes Elaine Loughlin.

Leo Varadkar has said the housing and homeless emergency will take range of solutions and has suggested supports to keep landlords in the rental market.

Leaving a homeless summit in Dublin this afternoon Mr Varadkar said the construction of social housing is being "ramped up" and between 2,000 and 3,000 social houses will be built this year, he said this would be scaled up further in the coming years.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has called the country's 31 local authority chief executives to a meeting today where they will be asked to update him on efforts made to solve the problem to date and planned initiatives.

Speaking after attending the morning session, Mr Varadkar said a vacant home tax is "under consideration" but added this may not have a significant impact.

"If you take for example Fingal or Galway where they have actually gone out to the actual houses to see how many[houses] are vacant and while the CSO may say there is a certain number and geocodes say there is another number when the council staff have gone out to the houses and apartments and knocked on doors they have found that the numbers that are really vacant are actually much smaller than any of the numbers show.

"There is a story behind each house in each case, sometimes it's that the person is in a nursing home, sometimes somebody has died and the house is in probate and there is a dispute over who owns it and they are the real complications that arise.

"So it's certainly not something that we will rule out, it's certainly under consideration, would it be a game changer in terms of making housing available? Probably not," Mr Varadkar said.


Related Articles

Fr Peter McVerry: ‘Evictions are a return to famine times’

Room swap a novel solution to ease rental crisis

Government commitment to social housing criticised

'We need to bring back an affordability scheme like we had in the past' - Housing Minister

More in this Section

Call for Government to fund new study in sexual violence in Ireland

225 people caught speeding; including one doing 177km/h in 100km zone

Man arrested in connection with €1m Offaly drugs seizure due in court

'Not too late' to resolve Irish Rail strike: FF


Today's Stories

No Government jet for freed Halawa

Garda officers may sue for right to strike

Rail unions vote for industrial action

‘We are on our knees after this ... we need help’

Lifestyle

Live music review: The Horrors - Icy genius in a thrillingly intimate setting

New book revisits the games they just don't make anymore

Why a good breakfast is a must for your kids

Facing fears while terrifying punters at Cork's Nightmare Realm

More From The Irish Examiner