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)