Dáil debates

Wednesday, 15 May 2024

Future Ireland Fund and Infrastructure, Climate and Nature Fund Bill 2024: Report and Final Stages


4:20 pm

Photo of Thomas GouldThomas Gould (Cork North Central, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

That is fair enough.

To get back to the point, on derelict and vacant sites, according to the census there are 163,000 vacant properties. A number of years ago, I got a site in Blarney Street put on the derelict sites register. I have mentioned it here a number of times. This butcher's shop was empty for 33 years and because it went onto the derelict sites register and Cork City Council started to charge the owner 7% a year, he has now turned the building into a two-bedroom property and a three-bedroom property. The derelict sites register worked in that case, but the problem is that most local authorities do not have a derelict sites register and if they do, they do not put buildings on it. Other local authorities do not collect the levy. Local authorities tell me the problem is that they do not have the staff or resources and they have to use compulsory purchase. The Minister is a Corkman, like me. He should go down to North Main Street. He should be ashamed of his life with the way the Government has left North Main Street. Buildings are crumbling in the heart of Cork city. The problem is that it is on the northside of Cork city. In Blackpool, Shandon Street and North Main Street, buildings are crumbling. They should be purchased compulsorily and turned into housing and businesses. Instead, speculators and developers have bought them and left them to crumble for 20 years.

What has happened in Cork is an absolute scandal.

To go back to the infrastructure side of things, is there a commitment to money for the northern ring road? At the time of the 2007 crash the northern ring road was in the capital investment programme to be delivered and then it was taken out. I think last year the Government allocated something like €100,000 - I stand to be corrected - to look to map out how the road would be built. It was €100,000. We need a northern ring road. The problem is when there is a crash on the southern ring road or in the tunnel, people have no where to go and are trapped for hours. When people hear me talk about the northern ring road they say, "Ah, he's a northside councillor or TD" - I am, and I am fighting for it. I am not just fighting for the northside, however, I am fighting for the whole of Cork because that is a vital piece of infrastructure for which we should be able to access funding.

I will finish and I know I am out of time. We need regeneration in Blackpool and Mayfield and we need money for the infrastructure for that. We have brown water in Cork and we need money for that. We need a proper light rail because we have none at the moment.


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