TD Brady calls for answers regarding funding shortfall for vacant and boarded-up council properties

Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady at a meeting of the Dáil Public Accounts Committee on Thursday questioned the Secretary General at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Graham Doyle on the failure of the government to provide sufficient funding to Wicklow County Council to allow for something in the region of 145 vacant and boarded up local authority properties in County Wicklow to be repaired and refurbished to the level that they could be relet to some of the thousands of families on the housing list. 

Brady said: “We are in the midst of a chronic housing shortage. It is the number one political challenge for the government. A whole generation have been affected by the mess that this government has created in housing.  

“And it is a national crime that we have what was confirmed to me today as approx. 2,000 vacant and boarded up local authority houses across the state. 145 of which are in Wicklow. Some of which have been left vacant for up to two years.”

“These are not empty shells, they are potential safe harbours to some of the many, many families who have found their hopes and dreams crushed by the failure of the government to address the housing crisis in the state.”

“And the fact that Wicklow County Council are unable to draw down the funding required from central government to allow these properties to be repaired and brought up to a standard that would allow them to be re-let to some of the thousands crying out for a home, is indicative of the ham-fisted approach of this government, and in particular, the Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien.”

“Last year the Department of housing had an underspend of over half a billion euro, and yet they are unable to provide local authorities, such as Wicklow County Council with the funds that could put 145 houses back into use for families.”

“At this weeks PAC meeting I called on Graham Doyle, the secretary general at the Department of Housing, to engage with local authorities across the state, but particularly here in our own county of Wicklow, where we have an identifiable and quantifiable housing stock that can be brought into use for families if the government provide the local authorities with sufficient funding to do so.”

“I am also calling on Minister Darragh O’Brien to ensure that the 2,000 vacant and boarded up properties across the state, and not allowed to be left in this continual state of disrepair and abandonment, when people are literally crying out for homes.”

“There are huge challenges in the whole area of the provision of housing. This is something that is eminently doable. All that is required is for the government to do their job.”

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