A fund of €150 million will be made available to local authorities to buy vacant derelict buildings in cities, towns, and villages.

The properties will then be renovated with the Minister for Housing hoping this will make them attractive to home buyers.

The upgraded properties could also be converted into a public amenity, but this fund is primarily aiming to deliver more homes.

"This will allow a local authority establish a rolling programme to tackle long-term vacancy and dereliction without borrowing or the associated financial risk," Minister Darragh O'Brien said.

The Department of Housing is also issuing guidance to councils on compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) with a focus on the purchase of derelict properties.

The role of Vacant Home Officers in local authorities will be developed further.

"The most efficient home to deliver is the one that already exists. I want vacant properties in cities, towns and villages across the country to become homes," Minister O’Brien said.

Junior Housing Minister Kieran O’Donnell emphasised that people can get a grant of up to €50,000 to refurbish a vacant property under the Croí Cónaithe scheme.

It comes as employers' group Ibec warned that the housing crisis is becoming a critical barrier to the continued growth and development of business investment.

The organisation said the Government must urgently deliver a range of policies to speed up housing delivery.

Ibec published a new report on the growing problem which contains a range of recommendations about how the issues around housing can be resolved.