Second housing summit to take place in January

Eoghan Murphy says conference will look at bringing vacant housing back into use

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy at St Mary’s Mansions in Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy at St Mary’s Mansions in Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

A second housing conference involving local authorities will take place in early January.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said the meeting, following on from the first one in September, will examine how local authorities can use their powers to bring vacant housing back into use.

At the conference local authorities will hear from Louth County Council on how it used compulsory purchase orders to bring 51 vacant properties back into use.

The date for the summit has yet to be finalised.

Mr Murphy said the target of creating 21,000 new social housing tenancies in 2017 would be exceeded “at nearly every level”, and that he expected that figure to be surpassed in 2018.

However, the Government has been criticised by the Green Party for spending just €500 million of the €1.4 billion housing capital budget under Rebuilding Ireland on building and acquiring new units in 2017.

The scale of the housing crisis has been further underlined by new figures from the charity Alone which found that the number of people over the age of 60 on the social housing waiting list grew by 11.4 per cent each year between 2013 and 2016, from 4,765 to 6,594 respectively.

Upgraded

Mr Murphy was speaking during a visit to a €21 million Clúid Housing refurbishment scheme in Dublin’s inner city. The St Mary’s Mansions complex is being upgraded to provide 80 new apartments for families and single people.

The project is funded by the Housing Finance Agency, the European Investment Bank and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe described it as an “iconic project”.

“The status of St Mary’s Mansions and the need to regenerate has been indicative of the challenges we have had in housing in Dublin central. This project is now moving ahead. It is an example of the kind of progress that we are making on housing. It is another example of the commitment the Government has to do regeneration in the northeast inner city.”