Housing charity Peter McVerry Trust has today welcomed news that the Attorney General has informed the Government that there is no impediment to using compulsory purchase order (CPO) powers to force the sale of empty homes.
The charity said this advice gives Local Authorities the green light to significantly scale up their CPO programmes, a move that would help to ease the housing crisis.
Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust, said: “Peter McVerry Trust believes that a scaling up of CPO programmes in each local authority can play a significant role in alleviating the housing and homeless crisis.
“We have tens of thousands of empty homes spread across our cities and towns and we need to get them back into use quickly.”
“Peter McVerry Trust has undertaken a substantial campaign to get empty homes on the political agenda.
“We also hired the first Empty Homes Officers in Ireland earlier this year and their work has shown that the incentives put in place to get empty homes back into the system are not working effectively.
“We have logged and reviewed over 600 empty properties since late June in Dublin, Kildare and Limerick but of that only 36 units are in our pipeline for re-use.
“In the vast majority of cases when an owner replies to our correspondence they reject the financial packages available to them. In the middle of a housing and homeless crisis this is incredibly frustrating and intolerable.
“The response and clarification from the Attorney General on the use of CPO powers is therefore very welcome and timely.
“We need to see Local authorities using their CPO powers to maximum effect as one core element of easing the housing crisis. From our own work we know that these empty buildings can be transformed into high quality homes quickly and cost effectively.”