There are more than 3,000 empty homes in Galway City, or about 10% of total, according to CSO Statistics. But according to Social Democrats Galway representative Niall Ó Tuathail, government doesn’t know where most of these homes are, and so are struggling to take measures to get them occupied.
Mr Ó Tuathail said that with the housing and homelessness crisis going from bad to worse, getting vacant homes occupied is the best way to improve the situation in the short term.
“You might not believe it but some parts of Galway City Centre have up to one in four buildings vacant and that can’t continue in the middle of a housing crisis. Some places are vacant because of legal or bank disputes, some are vacant because they need investment to be livable, some are vacant because they are an investment that isn’t been well managed.
“Whatever the reason, government and the city council should be supporting owners, and pressuring them if necessary, to get them occupied,” he said.
Mr Ó Tuathail is asking Galwegians to register vacant homes in their communities on a new website vacanthomes.ie “This website, which allows anyone to register a home as being vacant in two minutes, will allow government to work with the owners to get the home back on the market.
“During our Social Democrats leafleting and canvassing, we have been registering vacant homes that we come across. Communities know best which homes aren’t occupied in their own areas and I would encourage communities and residents associations to get vacant homes registered.
“This puts the ball back in the government court to get them occupied. If anyone would like help to register vacant homes, we have volunteers would be happy to help,” he said.