Updated: 28/02/17 : 05:19:18Printable Version
Green Party Local Area Rep, Leslie O'Hora today accused Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil of voting against urban regeneration in County Sligo, after the two parties combined to defeat the Derelict and Vacant Sites Bill 2017 in the Seanad recently.
The Bill, introduced by Green Party Senator Grace O’Sullivan, was designed to bring life back into town and city centres by penalising owners of sites that are lying derelict or vacant for a number of years. The penalties would encourage owners to renovate derelict properties, or develop land in areas of housing shortage, or face levies every year that they do nothing with their properties. Local Area Rep, Leslie O'Hora said: “It’s really disappointing that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil teamed up to defeat this Bill. Every town and village in the country knows the blight of dereliction and vacancy.
"The latest figures show that the west coast continues to lag behind their eastern counterparts in securing occupiers for their commercial property. Sligo, in particular is badly affected with an 18pc commercial property vacancy rate. It's a terrible shame. Senator Grace O’Sullivan, speaking after the Seanad vote, said: “We brought this Bill to the Seanad to tackle vacancy and dereliction in our town centres, and to encourage an end to a situation where we have 200,000 empty houses in the middle of a homelessness crisis.
"The measures outlined in the Bill were aimed at creating a much needed sense of urgency into tackling vacancy and dereliction in this country. It was designed to regenerate our urban areas, and bring life back to the centre of our towns and cities. It is very disappointing that politics came before practicality in this instance, at a time when we need to be doing all we can to tackle the housing crisis.”