The news that Minister Simon Coveney is to extend the Vacant Property Scheme to the whole country is very welcome and it is something that I proposed in the discussions in the programme for Government last year.
The scheme was trialled on a pilot basis in Waterford and Carlow since October and it has proven to be a success. Now an additional €26m is being provided to fund the scheme in 2017 which brings the total amount of investment available this year to €32m. The funding will assist with repairs of approved properties. This additional funding will mean that up to 800 vacant properties can be brought back into use as new homes for families on local authority waiting lists throughout the country which is welcome and will assist in solving the housing crisis which we have seen over the past number of years..
I am asking local authorities to promote this scheme as not only will it add to the housing stock, it will help the revival of small villages and towns in rural Ireland which is an added benefit. I will be following this up in the coming weeks to ensure that this scheme is rolled out in all areas of the country and property owners interested in the scheme should contact their local authority directly and register their interest.