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Potential to repurpose nearly 5,000 vacant homes across Munster through local authority schemes

Fine Gael is inviting stakeholders to take part in an online meeting on how to target Munster’s 29,000 vacant homes and almost 7,000 derelict units.

The aim of the online consultation is to tap into the wide range of local experience on what actions can be taken to bring vacant homes and derelict units into use across Waterford and Munster, which can supplement badly needed housing supply.

Senator Cummins said, “As of Q4 2021, the vacancy rate of properties across Waterford was 2.8% with a total of 1,470 vacant homes. There were also 305 derelict units – a rate of 5.8 units per 1,000 properties in Waterford, which is one of the lowest in the country and has been achieved through the fantastic work that has been done by all stakeholders – property owners, builders, estate agents and Waterford City and County Council.

“Looking across the other Munster counties, the vacancy rate was much higher at 4.1% in Cork, 4.6% in Limerick, 5.7% in Tipperary, 6.5% in Clare and 9% in Kerry. The average vacancy rate across the country stood at 4.4%.

“The evidence is clear, some local authorities such as Waterford are much better at making use of the available schemes which have been devised by government. In fact, if all local authorities replicated Waterford’s performance, nearly 5,000 vacant units could be quickly brought back into use in Munster.

The consultation will focus on the 26 proposals published in the Fine Gael’s Housing team’s discussion paper “Vacancy and Renewal”, and there will be three main topics for discussion:

  • Best Practice: How to improve Local Councils’ use of the Repair and Lease scheme, reducing turn around times for council owned properties and how to make better use of the powers of Derelict Sites Notices and Compulsory Purchase Orders.

  • Integrated Planning: How to seize the emerging opportunities to plan and deliver renewal of our communities.

  • Policy Interventions: Refining policies within the discussion paper on topics like a vacant property tax and incentive measures.

Senator Cummins said, “It is not unrealistic to set a target that half of the vacant units across Munster could be revived in the coming years, contributing nearly 15,000 homes across the province, though some counties will undoubtedly face greater challenges than others.

“There are many exciting opportunities emerging from Housing for All, Town Centre First, Urban Regeneration and Rural Renewal. It is also a chance to look at the role of tax reliefs, a vacant property tax and other potential legislative changes that stakeholders may wish to put forward.

“The meeting will take place at 12pm on Monday February 7th. If you want more details of the Fine Gael discussion document or would like to take part in the consultation, please register your interest on

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