The Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers (IPAV ) has criticised how slowly the State has moved in addressing certain housing issues.
The organisation says that a grant to help first-time buyers refurbish vacant properties in rural towns and villages, announced by the Government in January, 2017, has not seen the light of day more than a year later.
Pat Davitt, IPAV CEO, said that at the time the Government launched its ‘Action Plan for Rural Development’ with the promise of a pilot scheme before the initiative would be rolled out nationally.
“We publicly welcomed this," said Mr Davitt. "It was something we, for some years, had urged the Government to introduce in the belief that it would breathe new life into rural Ireland, by converting non-viable commercial buildings into residential use. Now we discover that a steering group tasked with progressing the initiative has not even met yet."
Mr Davitt said the plan was launched to great fanfare but there is currently a serious implementation deficit.
“We would call on the Government to ensure the scheme is set up urgently, without any further procrastination,” he said.
Mr Davitt added that as house prices continue to rise, the scheme may be going beyond the reach of some who would otherwise have benefited had it been set up as promised.
In 2016, IPAV members had identified 300 properties throughout the country that would be suitable for such a scheme.
“This scheme would incur no expensive outlay for the Government and should be a win win socially, economically and politically,” Mr Davitt stated.