David McWilliams: Dereliction is legalised vandalism for the property-owning classes

Taxing vacant buildings and rewarding their renovation would breathe new life into our cities

Vacant former social housing  off Townsend Street in Dublin. Photograph: Frank Miller

Vacant former social housing off Townsend Street in Dublin. Photograph: Frank Miller

Let’s talk about urban dereliction. Walk around Dublin, Cork or Limerick and dereliction is everywhere. Close to The Irish Times offices large swathes of Dublin’s south inner city are run down, in need of repair, unoccupied and derelict. And while many buildings may look occupied on the ground floor, once you lift your gaze more often than not the third and fourth floors are falling down.

The same is the case for Cork from where I’m writing today. Walking the length of this lovely city west to east you see something similar all the way from the Mardyke to Custom House Quay, upper floors appear grossly under-utilised and, in the main, vacant. They are certainly not homes or apartments.

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