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17 May 2022

'The government is doing nothing about it': Newbridge Councillor joins politicians criticising presence of derelict buildings in Kildare

'The government is doing nothing about it': Newbridge Councillor joins politicians criticising presence of derelict buildings in Kildare

File derelict building Photo by Joel Kueng from Pexels

A Councillor from the town of Newbridge is the latest politician to criticise the presence of derelict buildings throughout County Kildare.

Now, Social Democrats (SD) Cllr Chris Pender has said that new figures confirming more than 100,000 vacant and derelict homes across the country "are further evidence" that the government's housing policy is failing.

It follows after his fellow colleague, Cllr Bill Clear, announced that he was cataloguing all vacant shops, houses and land in Naas and Sallins area.

Data company GeoDirectory revealed that 90,158 dwellings were vacant in the fourth quarter of 2021, while 22,096 dwellings were identified as derelict.

Cllr Pender said: "These figures show that the government's housing policy is failing."

"A damning indictment"

"The fact that Ireland has over 9,000 homeless people and more than 90,000 vacant homes is a damning indictment of the government."

He continued: "Nearly one in every twenty homes in the state are vacant: even Kildare's relatively low level of residential vacancy of 2.1 per cent still accounts for almost 1,893 homes left idle and empty.

"I see and speak to families every day that could be living in these properties but instead are stuck in box bedrooms or emergency accommodation."

Cllr Pender then went on to claim that "the government is doing nothing about it": "They're sitting on their hands: Using an existing building is the most environmentally sustainable option.

"It is also the most socially sustainable approach."

He then said that the govt must immediately impose a tax on vacant buildings, use Compulsory Purchase Orders to convert vacant houses into homes, and implement Compulsory Sale Orders to bring some of these properties back into use.

"This housing crisis won't just sort itself out: the govt must take definitive action and do everything within their power to ensure no one is left without a roof over their head," Cllr Pender concluded.

Cross-party support:

Cllr Pender is not the only Kildare politicians who has hit out at the presence of derelict buildings in the county: back in November, a motion proposed by Ryan's colleague, Cllr Noel Connolly, was voted down at the Kildare Draft Budget 2022 meeting.

His motion was supported by other representatives such as Fine Gael Cllr Mark Stafford and Fianna Fáil Cllr Suzanna Doyle.

In addition, legislation was launched last week by Sinn Féin (SF) TD Thomas Gould at Leinster House to tackle the issue.

Following this, Kildare South TD Patricia Ryan urged the government to back the legislation to "ensure it delivers much-needed change for people priced out of affordable housing."

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