Local authorities to be given €150m to buy derelict buildings for housing 

Local authorities to be given €150m to buy derelict buildings for housing 

Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien during the launch of the new Vacant Homes Action Plan. Picture: Damien Storan.

Local authorities will be given another €150m to buy vacant derelict buildings in cities and towns to make them available for housing under a new plan announced by Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien.

It is designed to increase the number of homes available for purchase.

The upgraded properties could also be converted into a public amenity, but this fund is primarily aiming to deliver more homes, he said.

Mr O’Brien said there is potential to bring “thousands” of derelict houses back into place in the coming months, saying there is now funding to back “many multiples” of the 900 cases already approved.

Speaking in Dublin, Mr O’Brien said: "This will allow a local authority to establish a rolling programme to tackle long-term vacancy and dereliction without borrowing or the associated financial risk."

He said he did feel the scale of the fund is “aggressive enough” to respond to the scale of the crisis in the country.

“We are aggressive in tackling this and made real progress in the space in just one year. And that's why I've established the vacant homes unit within my own department to give a real focus on that because it's something that I personally believe we should be doing more. But I'm happy with the progress so far,” he said.

The Department of Housing is also issuing fresh instructions to local authorities relating to compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) with a focus on the purchase of derelict properties.

Vacant Home Officers

The minister added that the role of Vacant Home Officers in local authorities will be developed further.

"The most efficient home to deliver is the one that already exists. I want vacant properties in cities, towns and villages across the country to become homes," Mr O’Brien said.

The Government also emphasised that people can get a grant of up to €50,000 to refurbish a vacant property under the Croí Cónaithe scheme.

Mr O’Brien said the State has so far provided 5,000 homes for use to house Ukrainian refugees, with several thousand more properties to become available in the coming weeks.

Employers' group Ibec has warned that the housing crisis is becoming a critical barrier to the continued growth and development of business investment.

The organisation said the Government must urgently deliver a range of policies to speed up housing delivery.

Ibec published a new report on the growing problem which contains a range of recommendations about how the issues around housing can be resolved.


Asked about the record homeless figures published last week, Mr O’Brien said we also saw almost 30,000 new homes built last year.

“Because within that, we're going to see the highest amount of social homes delivered in about 50 years, and you don't turn it around within one year of housing for all,” he said.

He said he is confident in his ability to make sufficient progress in tackling the homelessness crisis.

“In relation to my own position, as minister, it's an honour for me to do this job. I'm very committed to it. I understand what needs to be done. And we're seeing a levelling off on homeless numbers, it's still too high. But I am confident we can change this,” he said.

Mr O’Brien said the Cabinet sub-committee on housing won’t be discussing potential tax breaks but will concentrate more on the pipeline of houses to come on stream in 2023.

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