STRONG interest has been reported, in Clare, a grant scheme designed to bring vacant and derelict properties back into use as housing.
An update on the level of interest in Clare was provided in the January management report of the local authority, showing that more than 30 applications have been received to-date. The Council also said it is responding to “a large volume of queries received daily in connection with the vacant property refurbishment grant from interested homeowners”.
Last year, Croí Cónaithe, the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant, opened offering a maximum of €30,000 for the refurbishment of vacant properties as a principal private residence, subject to certain conditions.
“There is a strong interest in the Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant to include the derelict property top-up grant as a means of providing assistance to homeowners to bring vacant proper- ties back into use,” the Council’s January report stated.
The documented notes that properties considered for inclusion must be vacant for two years or more and built before 1993. The criteria stipulate that the scheme is exclusively available to individuals or households for which the vacant property following refurbishment works, will be their principal private residence.
“To date, 31 applications have been received seeking funding under the Scheme,” the management report outlined. “The applications are currently being assessed and are at various stages of the application process. Three applications have been approved, three applications have been referred for technical inspection, 14 applications have a request for further information before they can proceed for the initial technical inspection.”
The reported noted that three applications which were previously rejected “due to not meeting location requirements” are to be resubmitted by the applicants following the recent expansion of the grant to now apply to qualifying properties in rural parts of the county. “Seven applications are currently being checked and verified,” the report added. “One application has been withdrawn by the applicant.”
At the end of 2022, on foot of a motion from Councillor Cillian Murphy, the local authority agreed to a roadshow for the public on the scheme. Liam Conneally, Director of Economic Development said the, early this year, the Vacant Homes and Derelict Sites functions of the Council will be amalgamated under the Economic Development directorate. This is in a big to improve communication with owners of vacant and derelict properties while promoting the Government grants now available. Mr Conneally confirmed that the authority will organise briefings and workshops with the elected members and other stakeholders early in this year. He said that in advance a communication strategy is being developed on the issue.
Under the scheme, properties confirmed to be derelict may be eligible for a further €20,000 in funding support, taking maximum funding to €50,000.
An SEAI Better Energy Home Scheme Grant may be available in combination with the refurbishment grant.
Nationally, around 532 applications have been submitted to-date under the Croí Cónaithe scheme.
Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald.
Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti.
She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at The University of Galway.
If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at email@example.com or telephone 065 6864146.