New Figures Reveal Almost 400 Houses Vacant In Cork County

By Seamus Whelehan

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Almost 400 housing units across Cork County are lying idle despite the fact that thousands are on the waiting list for homes, according to new figures.

The statistics released to Fine Gale Cllr Anthony Barry reveal that 372 units were registered on vacanthomes.ie in Cork County last year.

35 premises are in the process of being brought back into use by the owner following discussions with the Local Authority.

68 are being pursued under the Buy and Renew and Repair and Lease Schemes.

Compulsory Purchase Orders have commenced on 17 properties, with a further 14 units in the process of being acquired.

Of the remaining 269 identified insufficient information was provided with some deemed unsuitable or not located in the Council’s administrative area.

Last year Cork County Council formulated a Vacant Housing Action Plan financed by the Department of housing to deal with empty premises across the county and bring them back into residential use.

Cllrs at Monday’s meeting raised concerns as to whether or not the Vacant Homes Officer has time for the role.

Fine Gael Cllr Anthony Barry told the Executive that the County is such a size that it warranted two additional Vacant House Officers.

The Carrigtwohill based Cllr said huge pressure is being put on the current officer employed, and that each of the three divisions in the county should have its own Vacant Homes Officer.

“There are a lot of properties around the county with genuine reasons as to why they are lying idle, but there are other properties in the ownership of financial institutions, developers and others that could be brought back into use.” he said.

Fianna Fail Cllr Seamus McGrath said the Council must “up its game” in tackling the County’s derelict properties.

He said “the Repair and Lease and Supply and Renew schemes have not gained much traction, with the completion on units very low.”

Sinn Fein Cllr Melissa Mullane said while Cork County Council was doing everything in its power to deliver much needed housing, they had to deal with Government policies with no additional resources.

“Until the Government cough up and give additional funds we won’t be in any different state” she said.

The Authority’s Director of Housing, Maurice Manning, said additional staff was required to find answers to the County’s housing woes.

“Availability of funding and approval to engage additional staff from the Department is necessary to enable the Council to significantly increase its impact in the area” he said.

A letter is to be sent to the Minister of Housing, pressing him to provide the much needed finance.

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