Where are Ireland's vacant social housing units - and what are we doing with them?

Fianna Fáil says less than half the available units are currently being refurbished

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Figures obtained by Fianna Fáil under the Freedom of Information Act show that there are 2,751 vacant social housing units in Ireland.

Of this total 1,449 are yet to have funding approved for refurbishment - while the remaining 1,302 have finding approved.

"Minister Coveney has said that he is satisfied that the €24m allocated to refurbishing vacant units is adequate. However it is clear that his department is providing refurbishment funding for less than 50% of the vacant units that have been identified to date," Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Housing, Barry Cowen said in a statement.

The party describes these properties as "low hanging fruit" in the battle to tackle Ireland's housing crisis.

The highest volume of vacant social housing that is not being refurbished according to these figures is in Cork city where there are 246 units, while the lowest amount is in Co Laois where there are only 3.

Here is a breakdown of where the vacant social housing units are situated across the country:

“Minister Coveney needs to explain why refurbishing funding has not been allocated for 1,449 vacant units in the midst of a homelessness crisis," Mr Cowen continued.

These numbers show a total of 492 vacant units in Dublin - with 372 located in Dublin City.

The Department of Housing said that it "has placed high priority on supporting Local Authorities returning vacant units to productive use. Between 2014 and 2015 some 5,000 units have been remediated and made available to those on the social housing list."

It added that there will always be "a level of vacant social houses at any given point" as social housing become vacant and changes hands.

These numbers show a total of 492 vacant units in Dublin - with 372 located in Dublin City.

The Department of Housing said that it "has placed high priority on supporting Local Authorities returning vacant units to productive use. Between 2014 and 2015 some 5,000 units have been remediated and made available to those on the social housing list."

It added that there will always be "a level of vacant social houses at any given point" as social housing become vacant and changes hands.

"There is no requirement for local authorities to hold social housing stock in a vacant state for a specific period before drawing down funding support from the Department, in fact local authorities are encouraged to carry out works on all such housing units as soon as possible and in order that these units can be re-let.

"Between 2014 and 2015 the Department has provided funding totaling €60m for this purpose with a first tranche of over €24 million being allocated in 2016 that will see a further 1,300 units returned to productive use," a spokesperson from the department continued.

The statement issued to Newstalk concluded that, "Not all units that are listed by local authorities will be retrofitted under the voids programme. While statistics indicated that 2,750 units were vacant in March/April 2016 funding was sought by local authorities for 1,370 of these units, with the remainder being carried out as part of planned maintenance works."