The Irish government has announced additional support for its Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant to bring back vacant and derelict properties on Ireland's offshore islands as long-term homes.

Ireland's Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant is a payment you can get if you are turning a vacant house or building into your permanent home or a rental property.

However, Ireland's Department of Rural and Community Development announced on June 7 that it is increasing the size of the grants by 20% when used for island properties.

The maximum grant vacant island properties will be €60,000 (about $65,500 USD) compared to €50,000 (about $55,000 USD) on the mainland.

For derelict island properties, the grant provided will be up to €84,000 (about $92,000 USD) compared to €70,000 (about $76,000 USD) on the mainland.

The increased refurbishment grants will come into effect from July 1 and will be applied retrospectively to any existing applications.

Under the Our Living Islands policy launched by Minister @HHumphreysFG today there will be a 20% increase in the Vacant & Derelict Property Grant to bring back properties on offshore islands back into use as long-term homes.#OurRuralFuture

— Darragh O'Brien (@DarraghOBrienTD) June 7, 2023

The grant scheme for refurbishment on Ireland's islands is part of the Irish government's National Islands Policy and Action Plan, described as an "ambitious new 10-year policy along with 80-point action plan to support vibrant and sustainable island communities."

Heather Humphreys, Ireland's Minister for Rural and Community Development, launched the policy during a visit to Árainn Mhór island in Co Donegal on June 7.

“As a result of delivering this policy, we will see more people living on the islands and more people working on our islands, with good career prospects, regardless of where their employer is headquartered," Minister Humphreys said.

She added: "Our aim is to build resilient and sustainable island communities and economies through real and tangible investment and improved supports and services.

"The policy also advocates a holistic, place-based approach to rural development, which encourages and supports island communities to develop their own plans to meet their long-term needs and to help them realize their vision for their own particular area.”

The policy notes: "A survey of all housing stock on the islands, including
a mapping of vacant and retrievable derelict properties, and quantifying the level of existing and projected demand (including stimulated demand) across all housing tenures will be important steps."

It adds: "Vacant Home Officers in Local Authorities will work with island communities to identify vacant and derelict properties on the islands and
ascertain if those properties can be retrieved."

Citizen's Information outlines the criteria to qualify for Ireland's Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant: 

  • The property must have been vacant for two years or more
  • The property must have been built before 2008.
  • You must own the property or be in the process of buying it.
  • You must live in the property as your principal private residence when the work is completed, or make it available for rent. If you are going to rent the property when the work is done, you must register the tenancy with the Residential Tenancies Board.
  • You must have tax clearance from Revenue and your tax affairs must be in order.
  • You must have paid your Local Property Tax, if applicable.
  • You must not be a registered company or developer.

Information on how to apply for Ireland's Vacant Property Refurbishment Grant is available here.