Mayor says he expects law allowing levy on vacant sites

Construction strategy accepts ‘strong case’ for levy

Urgent action must be taken to introduce a levy to stop "mothballing" of development sites, Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn has said.

He was speaking following the publication of the Government’s strategy to kick-start the construction sector. The strategy states a “strong case” had been made for enabling local authorities to impose a levy on vacant sites in Dublin.

Mr Quinn said he now expected the Department of the Environment to introduce legislation to enable local authorities to impose the levy to stop landowners hoarding vacant sites which could be used for commercial development.

“The statement that a strong case has been made for enabling the levy is very encouraging and I would read the report as very much in favour of moving on the idea.”


Mr Quinn said he was aware senior officials in the department were enthusiastic about the idea, as were the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan and the Minister of State for Housing Jan O’Sullivan, but he said it was imperative there was no delay in introducing enabling legislation.

“The lack of supply of development land is a problem that’s only getting worse and the longer it goes on the more chance we will lose big businesses to Berlin and Barcelona, that is the real risk of mothballing commercial zoned land.”

Dublin City Council submitted proposals for the levy to the department last July, it now had the clear backing of Government and must be put into legislation, Mr Quinn said. "I would expect the department to make this a priority and and swiftly to bring forth legislation."

The council's senior planner Kieran Rose said he believed the commitment was there in the department to include the enabling provision under the up-coming planning Bill. Even the prospect of a levy was already having a positive effect in more sites coming to the market in Dubli, he said.

“It’s behavioural economics in action. The probability of a vacant land levy is already having an impact on site owners and purchasers, but we need to have the levy in place to properly increase the supply of land.”

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times