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10 Aug 2022

Tipperary TD criticises Government on lack of dereliction levies collected in Tipperary last year

Tipperary TD criticises Government on lack of dereliction levies collected in Tipperary last year

Tipperary TD criticises Government on lack of dereliction levies collected in Tipperary last year

Sinn Féin TD Martin Browne has criticised the Government for not supporting Tipperary County Council in collecting derelict site levies. 

Mr Browne said Tipperary County Council collected no levies in 2021. 

He said derelict sites have consequences for the communities in their locations. 

"Dereliction is a scourge on our communities – derelict sites attract rats, anti-social behaviour and dumping. 

"They are a constant visual reminder to people that this Government are not serious about tackling the Housing Crisis and that this Government do not care about our communities," said Mr Browne. 

Mr Brown's statement is a reaction to a parliamentary question made by Cork North Central TD Thomas Gould. 

Derelict sites

On July 26, Mr Gould asked the Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Peter Bourke, for amounts levied and owed on derelict sites organised by local authority in 2021.  

The figures provided by the minister of state show that €38,150.00 was levied in Tipperary, but no figure was given for levies received. 

At the end of December 2021, €93,938.00 was cumulatively owed to the council, according to the minister's answer. 

The figures provided to Mr Gould show that 42 derelict sites were registered in Tipperary by the end of 2021. 

This was up from 39 in January 2021. 

Nine of those were levied during the year. 

Mr Bourke said in his response that using existing housing stock was a priority for the Government and  tackling dereliction and vacancy was part of that. 

"My Department continues to liaise with local authorities on the implementation of the Derelict Sites Act 1990 (the Act) with a view to improving its effectiveness.

"In this regard, my Department initiated a review of the Act in November 2021 and has sought initial submissions from local authorities on potential improvements to the legislative provisions and the way they are applied. My Department has now established a focused working group to speedily progress this matter further," said Mr Bourke.

'Untapped Revenue'

Mr Browne says the levies provide 'untapped revenue', which could be used to tackle the dereliction. 

"This is deeply concerning when we know that dereliction is a blight on our communities. We have millions of euros in potential untapped revenue that could transform communities and bring these homes back into use," said Mr Browne. 

Mr Browne accuses the Government of 'pro-developer policies.' 

He cites staffing issues at the Vacant Homes Unit and funding for developers. 

"The Minister was quick to announce a €450m fund to pay developers but let's be clear, he has given local authorities €60,000 each to try to tackle vacancy and dereliction.

"The only way to explain the low collection rates is that local authorities know this Government doesn't want to tackle landowners and hoarders. A government that puts developers first will never resolve dereliction, said Mr Browne. 

Mr Browne concluded by saying this is not just a problem for Tipperary. 

"While it may be easy to blame individual local authorities, we have to be realistic that when no local authority collects more than one-third of the amounts they levied, there is a much bigger problem here. That problem lies at the feet of central Government," said Mr Browne. 

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