A new Government fund called Croí Cónaithe will support bringing vacant and underused buildings in County Kildare towns and villages back into residential use, a Fine Gael Kildare South TD and Minister of State Martin Heydon has said.

Minister Heydon said, “A new €50 million Croí Cónaithe (Towns) Fund was announced by the government today (Thursday). This funding will be crucial to bringing vacant and underused buildings in County Kildare towns and villages back into residential use.

“Fine Gael is working to create stronger safer communities and in Government we are prioritising programmes like Croí Cónaithe to achieve this. Many areas of towns and villages in County Kildare are experiencing vacancy and dereliction and we want to breathe new life into these communities and ensure they are better places in which to live, to work and to raise families.

“The Scheme is set to benefit those who wish to turn a formerly vacant house or building into their principal private residence and become part of the community in the area. We are working to create vibrant town centres in County Kildare once more.

“The Fund will be delivered through Kildare County Council who will provide a grant to support the refurbishment of vacant properties, with priority given to applications in areas where the level of vacancy or dereliction is high.

“A grant of up to €30,000 will be available for the refurbishment of vacant properties for occupation as a principal private residence, including the conversion of a property which has not been used as a home before now.

“Where a property is derelict, a maximum top-up grant amount of up to €20,000 will be available, bringing the total grant available for a derelict property up to a maximum of €50,000. This can also be combined with the SEAI Better Energy Home Scheme that covers works of up to €26,750.

“It is intended that the Crói Cónaithe Fund will apply in all towns with a population of over 400 people, and also to some smaller villages, which may not be defined towns or villages for the purposes of the CSO Census mapping but with sufficient provision of services and amenities.”

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Peter Burke, added, “Today’s new fund is a part of a suite of measures undertaken by the government to tackle vacancy. It will be complemented by the upcoming Vacant Property Tax to help bring more properties back into use across the country.”

This Scheme is part of the Government’s Our Rural Future policy and the recently published Town Centre First policy, which aims to tackle vacancy and dereliction and breathe new life into our town centres. It also delivers on the ambition set out in Pathway 4 of Housing for All which aims to address vacancy and make efficient use of existing housing stock.

The application form, eligibility criteria and associated FAQs as published (available here) will provide additional information to people who would like to apply for the grant. Further information will be available from the Vacant Homes Officer in each local authority.