Kilkenny County Council has returned 78 social housing voids since 2014 at a cost of just over €1.5m, new figures have revealed.
Fianna Fáil's Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Housing a series of Parliamentary Questions on the number of social housing voids returned to stock by each local authority in each of the years 2014 to 2017.
He also asked for the amount of funding allocated to each local authority in each year to restore these units to use.
The figures for Kilkenny include: 2014 (24 units returned) with funding provided of €484,430; 2015 (23 units returned) €381,639; 2016 (14 units returned) €351,278 and 2017 (16 units returned) €307,749.
In a written response to Deputy Cowen's questions, Minister Eoghan Murphy said: “Section 58 of the Housing Act 1966 provides that the management and maintenance of local authority housing stock, including the implementation of planned maintenance programmes and carrying out of responsive repairs and pre-letting repairs, is a matter for each individual local authority.
“The Voids Programme, introduced in 2014 by my Department, provides additional support to local authorities in preparing vacant units for re-letting.
“The maximum funding provided for each unit under this programme is €30,000. In addition, the Derelicts Programme provides funding to remediate more seriously derelict social houses.
“There is also another smaller 2 into 1 programme, which focuses on converting vacant old bedsit type of accommodation into one bedroom units.
“Vacant social houses, which are categorised as voids, need far greater repairs that normal re-letting works to bring them to a suitable letting condition.
“They are vacant pending this work. The key objectives of the programme are to minimise the turnaround and re-let time of vacant units and return them to use in an energy efficient condition."
He added: “No distinction is made between the length of time a property is vacant before being eligible for funding under the programmes and my Department does not collect data on the average period that a unit was vacant prior to their refurbishment. The scale of the pre-letting works required is a more relevant factor.”
Given that amalgamated data across the 3 programmes is provided under Rebuilding Ireland, for consistency purposes, the combined voids data was presented by the Minister in the figures.
The figures were for voids data 2014 to 2017: incorporating voids, derelicts and 2 into 1 Programmes.