Sunday 21 July 2019

'Let councils seize hoarded land to ease crisis'

Stock Image: Bloomberg
Stock Image: Bloomberg
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Local authorities will have powers to seize land held by developers under new powers proposed by the Independent Alliance.

The group welcomed the Land Development Agency announced by the Government but said it "needs to go a step further".

"We have to support the local authorities and since the recession we have a number of land banks owned by private developers," said OPW Minister Kevin 'Boxer' Moran.

He is urging Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy to extend powers to use compulsory purchase orders on land which is being hoarded by developers.

Under the proposals, councils would have the power to seize the land and sell it off for house building.

Mr Moran warned that tackling the housing crisis cannot be done on public lands alone.

The group, which held its think-in in Dublin yesterday, also refused to be drawn on which of their Budget demands are red-line issues ahead of their negotiations.

Among their proposals is a Local Property Tax exemption for elderly people on fixed incomes and disabled people.

The alliance made a submission to the Department of Finance in which they are also seeking a cap on charges so that homeowners are not forced to pay "a single euro more" when the re-evaluation of property prices is completed next year.

They are also seeking an increase in gambling tax to 2pc which would raise €50m and be ring-fenced for addiction services.

There have been "robust" discussions with Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, Shane Ross said, but he declined to say which of the issues would be non-negotiable.

Irish Independent

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