Housing

Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill says Minister Murphy is ‘failing to act’ on housing

Units lying idle could be put back in use

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Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill says Minister Murphy is ‘failing to act’ on housing

Deputy Jackie Cahill: wants it made easie to change over the shop units into accommodation spaces

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has been accused by Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill for failing to deliver measures to make it easier for people to convert vacant properties into accommodation.

The Government announced a plan to allow property owners to change the use of space above businesses in town centres so that they can convert them into liveable accommodation.

“There are dozens of businesses in town centres across Tipperary which have vacant space above their shop or office, which could be used for accommodation,” said Deputy Cahill.

However, the current system to convert these buildings to residential use was cumbersome and resulting in owners getting bogged down for months with planning applications, he said.

“There are units which have been lying idle for years which would be ideal, if the will was there to make the conversion as straight forward as possible," said Deputy Cahill.

The Thurles-based TD said that Fianna Fáil published a Bill, Vacant Housing Refurbishment Bill 2017, a 18 months ago which would establish a special planning and building control approval process in each planning authority. This legislation sought to speed up the refurbishment of upper floors of older and commercial structures for housing.

“The Government has failed to react and explore all of the options open to it to help ease the housing crisis.  Our Bill adopts a common sense approach, but it is still languishing in the Oireachtas.  If the Government was serious about looking solutions, it could have moved the Bill on," said Deputy Cahill.

He said that this "closed mind policy" was not working and urged Minister Murphy and his colleagues to do more to bring in specific planning guidelines and initiatives to progress this issue.