We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
rental income

Seven TDs officially declared themselves as landlords for the first time in 2022

25 TDs derived an income from being a landlord last year.

SEVEN MEMBERS OF the Dáil have declared for the first time that they received an income of more than €2,600 because they rented out property or land last year.

The latest edition of the Dáil register of interests, which was published last month, features an updated list of the number of TDs who are legally obliged to declare that they derived an income from land or property.

Under ethics legislation, all TDs and Senators are required to declare any land or properties they own – aside from their family home – as well as any source of income over €2,600 that is derived from a source other than their political office.

The information is published annually on the Dáil and Seanad registers of interest, though representatives can make retroactive additions for specific years at any time if they discover that they did not complete the annual return for a given year accurately. 

According to the annual return for 2022, a total of 25 TDs derived an income from being a landlord last year, in comparison to just 16 in 2021 (before additional interests were declared for that year). Two TDs also said they owned rental homes, but did not declare being a landlord as an occupation last year.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Fine Gael’s Richard Bruton, Alan Dillon, and Frank Feighan, and Independents Seán Canney, Michael Healy-Rae, and Matt Shanahan declared a rental income for the first time in 2022 – though some of these listed ownership of properties ‘for letting’ in previous annual returns.

The Irish Times first reported details of the Taoiseach’s registration of his interests yesterday. His entry on the annual register describes him as the lessor of an apartment in Castleknock in Dublin; it is the first time Varadkar has listed owning this property.

The six remaining TDs all previously listed the properties from which they derived an income last year on the register, but did not specifically state that they obtained a rental income from them.

Last year, The Journal attempted to clarify whether these six TDs derived an income from the properties and land listed but did not receive a response from any of them.

With the exception of Richard Bruton, previous editions of the register suggest that they did not receive an income of more than €2,600 from these properties.

Former Environment Minister Bruton listed ownership of farmland at two separate locations (one of which included a house) near Dunboyne Co Meath for 2021, under the ‘occupation’ heading, where TDs who receive a rental income usually declare that they are landlords.

Bruton did not explicitly state that he was a landlord or in receipt of rental income at either location under the ‘occupation’ section in 2021. This was updated for 2022, with his return stating that he is “renting” both locations.

Independent TD Seán Canney listed four properties that he was “letting” out in Galway under the ‘land’ section of his declaration for 2021, but did not declare himself as a landlord in receipt of income of over €2,600 that year, writing “nil” under the ‘occupations’ heading on his return.

In 2022, he declared an additional occupation, “Landlord: Private Rental Homes” as well as the same four letting properties listed in 2021 with additional details of his shareholding in each.

Fine Gael’s Alan Dillon likewise stated that he was “letting” a property in Castlebar, Co Mayo under the ‘land’ section of his 2021 declaration, while also writing “nil” under ‘occupations’.

In his declaration for 2022, he described himself under ‘occupations’ as a “lessor” at the same property, which was specifically listed in the same section as well as the ‘land’ section of his return.

Another Fine Gael TD, Frank Feighan, similarly stated in 2021 that he was “letting” a “McDonagh’s newsagents” under the ‘land’ section of his declaration while stating “nil” under ‘occupations’.

Up until 2021, he only had part of a stake in the shop and received minimal income from it.

He updated his declaration when he inherited the shop last year, describing himself as a “landlord” under ‘occupations’ in 2022 and including reference to “McDonagh’s” as a “rental premises” in that section.

Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae declared five different occupations in 2021, none of which referred to his land interests. Under the ‘land’ section of his return for that year, he declared 17 different properties (or sections of properties) as “for letting”.

In his return for 2022, Healy-Rae declared a sixth occupation: “owner of rental properties”, listing 16 of the same 17 properties as “for letting” under the ‘land’ section (the 17th property from 2021 was listed as a “guest house” in 2022).

Independent TD Matt Shanahan listed “nil” as an occupation in 2021 but declared a property in Waterford as being for “letting” under his ‘land’ declaration the same year.

In Shanahan’s return for last year, he is listed as a “landlord” and refers to the exact same property in Waterford under his ‘occupation’ declaration.

The 18 other TDs listed as landlords for 2022 were: Colm Bourke (FG); Thomas Byrne (FF); Michael Creed (FG); Pa Daly (SF); Noel Grealish (Ind); Johnny Guirke (SF); Seán Haughey (FF); Paul Kehoe (FG); Alan Kelly (Lab); James Lawless (FF); Brian Leddin (Green); Charlie McConalogue (FF); Michael Moynihan (FF); Carol Nolan (Ind); Seán Ó Fearghaíl (FF); John Paul Phelan (FG); Brendan Smith (FF) and Robert Troy (FF).

Two other TDs also declared ownership of properties that they were letting – Health Minister Stephen Donnelly and Education Minister Norma Foley – but listed no rental income.

Earlier this week, the Taoiseach claimed that the “demonisation” of landlords in recent years has both hiked rents and reduced the number of rental properties available.

He argued that there was a “false narrative” being created and that the rights of both landlords and tenants were not competing rights.

“Renters need landlords and landlords need renters,” Varadkar said.

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel