First-time buyers who purchase an existing property in a town or village with a significant residential vacancy rate should be eligible to receive a grant of €15,000, Independent Deputy, Denis Naughten, has told the Dáil.
Speaking on a motion regarding affordable housing he proposed that “the grant be available to off-set against their mortgage deposit requirement”.
“Conservatively, there are more than 50,000 vacant houses throughout the country and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government is happy to fork out €30,714 to provide a new serviced site.
“The reality is that there are quite a number of rural villages around Ireland that have access to 1,000 Mbps high-speed broadband and that also have vacant houses while struggling to maintain student numbers in local primary schools.
“Surely, it would make sense to spend just half of this €30,000 to bring life back into vacant homes while taking some of the pressure off the housing, road and water infrastructure in Dublin and our other cities,” Deputy Naughten. asserted.
Additional leave for healthcare workers
Meanwhile, Deputy Naughten has welcomed a commitment by the Taoiseach to examine his proposal to offer additional paid leave to frontline healthcare workers.
Speaking during Leaders Question in the Dáil, Deputy Naughten pointed out that now is the time to recognise the commitment of doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants proposing “I believe the very minimum we should offer them is additional paid leave”.
“This week it has been agreed that Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan is to be awarded the Honorary Freedom of the City of Dublin, an honour he rightly deserves. Together with the now Tánaiste and the now Minister for Further and Higher Education, he was the steady hand we needed as we navigated our way through the pandemic and the nation drew reassurance from his calm demeanour during his daily briefings.
“I believe the time is now right to also recognise the work of all frontline health workers. Many of our doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants placed themselves at risk to go to work every day to keep us safe and to care for those who were seriously ill.
“Many of them made huge personal sacrifices during this time, including moving out of their homes and away from their families in some cases to keep them safe, while continuing to provide care not alone for those with Covid but also others who needed hospital care during uncertain times.
“These healthcare workers have worked long hours in extremely difficult circumstances, and we must now stop and recognise the work they have done on behalf of us all. These people have been selfless, and our country owes them a huge debt of gratitude.”
“If it is not possible to reward them with pay increases or some form of bonus system, then I believe the very minimum we should offer them is additional paid leave. Time to spend with the families they may have sacrificed precious family time with or, indeed, time out to recover from the physical and emotional tiredness they must undoubtedly be feeling.
“Now is the time for us to come together as a country and offer our healthcare workers more than a round of applause to acknowledge their work and sacrifices.”