More than 3,600 council houses are lying empty across the country in the midst of the housing crisis.

A report from the National Oversight and Audit Commission, which oversees local authorities, says councils need to improve the time it takes to re-let a property.

According to the Irish Independent, new figures show almost one on every 33 houses and apartments owned by local authorities is lying idle, and it takes an average of 7 months to re-let a dwelling.

The report says that, while the level of vacant housing stock is coming down, some councils need to improve the speed at which units are re-let.

The NOAC report shows the quickest turnaround times are in Westmeath at just under 7 weeks, while it's as high as 77 weeks in Sligo and 70 weeks in Leitrim.

The figures also show a wide disparity in vacancy rates, with Co Mayo and Galway city both at almost 3%.

Meanwhile, the newly-formed Ballina Housing Action Committee have been staging protests over the past month outside Ballina Municipal Offices to highlight the number of vacant homes in the area, in light of the large housing waiting list in Ballina.

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