Living above the shop must be exploited – to reduce Dublin’s growing housing crisis

by Rose Barrett
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Convert wasted living space over commerical premises, says Dublin Town, the collective voice of businesses in the capital.

The organisation wants a reduction in red tape, combined with financial supports, to bring tens of thousands of empty spaces above businesses back into circulation. According to 2022 data from the Central Statistics Office, there are more than 37,000 empty homes in Dublin.

In its pre-budget submission, Dublin Town also warns Ireland’s key infrastructural deficits must be urgently addressed at this time of budget surplus if environmentally friendly economic progress is to be maintained.

The surplus should be devoted to addressing shortcomings in housing, transport, water infrastructure, green energy generation and electrical infrastructure.

Dublin Town CEO, Richard Guiney is calling for a reduction in red tape and financial supports to exploit residential living capacity above commercial premises. Pic: Photocall Ireland.

“Living over the shop must be advanced,” said Dublin Town CEO, Richard Guiney.

“A sensible approach to fire and disability access, as in other EU states, and financial supports, would help unlock the potential for productive use of upper floors of commercial premises in many Irish towns.”

The organisation also says commercial rates are an obsolete and often unfair tax, which do not take into account a business owner’s ability to pay.

“Underlying rateable valuations are based on an arbitrary assessment which may now not be relevant. A discussion of structural reform of local authorities and their funding is long overdue,” added Mr Guiney.

And while National Transport Authority Plans for Dublin will address many of the city’s transit needs, the timescale for delivery is simply far too long, Dublin Town claims.

“We will not meet our transport related carbon reductions if we have to wait until the late 2030s and beyond for the provision of basic transport such as the Metro, DART Underground and integrated Luas lines. Such provision is considered basic in competitor cities,” Mr Guiney warned.

The submission calls for an online sales tax with particular reference to websites outside the EU and says a small business credit system should be introduced to ease the transition towards zero carbon.

“Dublin Town believes its Business Improvement District (BID) model, a business-led organisation in a defined area in which businesses invest as a group to improve their environment, is an ideal platform for the establishment of positive energy districts.

“These would reduce carbon emissions in line with internationally agreed targets and should be pursued to enable public and private sectors co-operate in reducing energy related carbon emissions.”

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