I welcome the pending announcement that Government will provide a support scheme for first time buyers of vacant properties.

The scheme will provide grants of up to €30,000 to help towards the cost of renovating the property.

“I have advocated for such a support scheme over the last number of years as it makes sense to bring these vacant buildings back into use. It was part of the Regional Groups submission in last year’s budget.

There are 27,000 such properties in the West and North West region. By renovating these properties, we will be regenerating our towns and villages and also help to find solutions to our housing crisis. It also makes sense from a Carbon saving perspective.

I believe strongly that the Government should go further and extend the Help to Buy Scheme to these properties and remove the necessity for planning which is an unnecessary cost and time delay.

The housing crisis needs immediate urgent action and by utilising our existing vacant housing stock we will make some progress in solving the crisis”.