Limerick and Waterford councils lead in converting derelict properties, TDs told

Performances of the State’s 31 councils have been mixed to date

More than 250 compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) have been issued by Limerick City and County Council since 2019 with the local authority generating €7 million in sales after refurbishing the properties.

In 2022 alone, the council acquired 43 properties under its CPO activation programme with the aim of turning those properties into homes.

Similarly Waterford City and County Council was awarded €28 million in funding to repurpose derelict and vacant properties within the centre of the city, following the authority achieving a high rate of converting derelict homes under Government schemes such as the repair and lease scheme.

Senior officials from both councils will attend a meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing on Thursday to identify why the two local authorities have been successful at bringing vacant properties back into use as homes.


The Housing for All plan set a target for local authorities of 2,500 identified vacant properties in their areas to be acquired, repaired, and then sold to homebuyers.

The performances of the 31 councils have been mixed to date, with some not refurbishing any vacant properties as yet. The exceptions have been the local authorities in Limerick and Waterford.

In an opening statement to the committee, Kieran Kehoe of Waterford City and County Council has said vacancy and dereliction has had an impact on the commercial life of rural towns and villages. He has stated that those properties need to be refurbished for residential use but also for other uses.

“While we absolutely require more housing and a variety of options for the potential homeowners or renters, we cannot allow every property to be used for residential use.

“The viability of main streets in towns and villages requires some thought.”

He referred to a €1.4 million funding award for a digital transformation hub in Dungarvan, where three town-centre derelict and vacant properties will be used.

Gordon Daly of Limerick City and County Council will tell the committee that 250 CPO orders have been made in the city, resulting in €7 million being raised by the council when it sold those properties as homes, after refurbishment.

In a separate statement, Caroline Timmons, assistant secretary at the Department of Housing, has said every local authority now has a vacant home officer in place.

Ms Timmons has said the recently-launched vacant property refurbishment grant had an overwhelming response with almost 1,600 applications submitted by the end of March.

The grant gives a maximum of €50,000 for refurbishing vacant properties to be used as a principal private dwelling, or which will be made available for rent.

A top-up grant is available where the property is confirmed to be derelict, bringing the total grant available for a derelict property up to a maximum of €70,000.

The grant is available for any vacant or derelict property built up to 2007.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times