Pretty Vacant


A construction site in Dublin in 2017

Journalist Oonagh Smyth, of RTÉ Investigates, reports:

“Information released to RTÉ Investigates under Freedom of Information indicates that development land, with the potential to provide an estimated 18,500 to 20,700 homes on 359 vacant sites across the country, is simply lying idle.

“In the Dublin City Council area there are an estimated 4,714 housing units that remain unbuilt on sites with development potential.”

…A total of €882,495 in fines was levied by the local authorities last year – 3% of the site values in 2018 – with €640,950 of this levied by Dublin City Council (DCC). Of this, €463,500 was paid by DCC to itself because three of the sites levied were owed by the council.

There was also €1.7m in fines left unpaid across the 22 local authorities attempting to implement the Vacant Site Levy (VSL).


In Sinn Féin candidate Eoin Ó Broin’s book Home…

He writes (on page 225)…

“There is also a need to revisit the issue of taxation of land, no matter how political contentious the issue may be. The current vacant site tax is widely seen as ineffective and is urgently in need of review.

The low number of sites on Local Authority vacant sites registers and the low level of the tax applied – just 3 per cent from 2019 – are clear evidence that it is not designed to do what is required, disincentivise land hoarding and speculative investment.

“In addition to strengthening the powers and ability of councils to place all vacant sites on their register, the tax must be increased to a level that is genuinely punitive.

“Independent Deputy Mick Wallace introduced the Urban Regeneration and Housing (Amendment) Bill 2018 to achieve exactly this objective, hiking the vacant site level to 25 per cent.

“The Bill was opposed by both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.”

FOI documents reveal 359 vacant development sites lying idle (Oonagh Smyth, RTÉ)

Previously: The Big Bang Theory (April, 2018)

Sponsored Link

11 thoughts on “Pretty Vacant

  1. Jake38

    “Independent Deputy Mick Wallace introduced the Urban Regeneration and Housing (Amendment) Bill 2018 to achieve exactly this objective, hiking the vacant site level to 25 per cent.”

    Oh, the irony.

  2. D

    it’s state policy since a long time to get high house prices



    if they build more houses, then they won’t be able to sustain high prices. only by tightly controlling supply can high prices be maintained. the prices must be maintained, otherwise their rents as landlords go down, and they may again have to put govt pension savings into the banks owned by the govt, aib and ptsb to prevent them from going under.

    this is what brian lenihans ltev long term economic value statements concerning nama were about, getting the taxpayer to bail out the failed construction and banking sectors via tax and high rent/mortgage payments.

  3. V

    Spoke about this back in late 2017 (Budget 18 piece)

    I just revisited it there
    Some interesting responses
    Pity they’re not around to comment here now, where did they go? Huh?

    Btw the one that followed it – almost 2 years to the day in fact
    Bank of Mum and Dad
    Is pretty much thick with the questions Fine Gael are trying to answer all week

    And I’m the psychopath and Broadsheet troll


  4. class wario

    Do the council even have the power/funding with which to renovate and use these sites? This is a genuine question FWIW!

      1. class wario

        Ta Otis, interesting reading.

        What strikes me is that (a) the council appears to delay responding and putting together relevant reports quite regularly for no apparent reason and (b) there is a definite hint of ideological reasons for the limits on funding and other suggestions by the DOH

          1. Donal

            The power deficit in local irish politics comes to the fore here, the councillors can decide to do little, but they can often stop the city manager doing things that are proposed. Neither can overrule the dept of housing.
            Will any government try sort this out?

      2. Jake38


        The council in the last 5 years has spent millions (of your money) planning a cycle way along the Liffey quays and thus far built precisely nothing. No one should be surprised by delay, expense, and lack of responsibility. No one answers to the taxpayer. An elected mayor with financial powers might help but an election would probably just produce a celebrity/freak winner.

Comments are closed.

Sponsored Link