Despite a major housing and homelessness housing crisis, one in eight houses still remain vacant across the country, the Dáil has been told.
Labour leader Brendan Howlin said that a Simon Community study has revealed 189,358 houses – or 13pc of properties - are now vacant.
Mr Howlin said the issue was all the more urgent because of the delays in delivering newly-built social and affordable homes in line with Government promises to tackle the crisis.
“Will you provide more money for this problem?” Mr Howlin asked the Government.
Replying for the Government, Education Minister Richard Bruton said the issue of vacant homes was being addressed by a new register of such properties, and various schemes to refurbish and make such homes available.
Mr Bruton said that delivery of housing had been slow but was now speeding up. He added that Government will study the Simon report and consider the recommendations it has made.
“The data base will ask why so many houses are vacant specifically so we can bring them back into use,” Mr Bruton said.
The Minister said that a €5.5bn five-year housing plan, with targets including 47,000 social homes, was now being implemented.