Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Public Accounts Committee

2020 Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General
Chapter 3 - Central Government Funding of Local Authorities

9:30 am

Photo of Brian StanleyBrian Stanley (Laois-Offaly, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

Could I ask Mr. Doyle about the vacant site levy? The figure is 7% of the value per annum. There is a funding stream in that regard which is overseen by the Department. What is being collected would appear to be feeble. Out of the 31 local authorities, more than half have not collected anything. Only 8% of the money due under the levy has been collected. Nine counties still have not a single property listed on the vacant site register - Cavan, Galway, Kerry, Leitrim, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan and Offaly. We take that to mean that there are no vacant sites there for a substantial period. Only five local authorities out of 30 have collected anything. That is Dublin City Council, Kilkenny, Roscommon, Waterford and Wicklow. That means 26 have not. Four other counties have identified sites but not collected anything. They are Carlow, Donegal, Laois and Westmeath. There is a role for the councillors in those counties to ask why that is the case, but it is not for me to tell them what to do.

The vacant site tax, which was introduced by the Houses of the Oireachtas, does not appear to be working. What is the biggest issue in that regard? I understand that there may be issues in some areas with probate or a tragedy in a family that owns the site and a couple of people are perhaps deceased. There could be issues of sensitivity. A local authority may not want to go after people because it has information the Department may not have. Why is it that only five local authorities have collected anything under the vacant site levy? Has there been any questioning of that yet?


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