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Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien (file photo) Leah Farrell/

Over 25,000 people sign petition calling for government to scrap tax breaks for cuckoo funds

Cabinet is set to discuss proposals on housing today.

A PETITION SIGNED by more than 25,000 people calling for the government to scrap tax breaks for cuckoo funds, build public homes, strengthening tenant rights, and put the right to a home in the constitution has been delivered to Cabinet.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe are due to bring proposals to Cabinet this morning to prevent the bulk purchase of housing estates by investment funds.

O’Brien is to brief ministers on proposals to issue a circular to local authorities banning them from granting planning for developments of houses and duplexes which could be sold in bulk to investment funds. He will also propose ring-fencing a proportion of new developments for first-time buyers and other purchasers.

Donohoe will brief colleagues on taxation plans which may see investment funds charged stamp duty on certain residential purchases.

The petition calls for the following:

  • Scrap investor tax breaks – scrap REIT tax
  • Impose investor tax of 50% on profits
  • Restrict sale of new developments to individual home buyers & not for profits
  • Build public & affordable homes on huge state lands
  • Right to housing in our Constitution
  • Remove landlords ability to evict tenants for sale and no-fault evictions

The petition also notes that other measures could curb the funds and help make housing affordable including a vacant and derelict homes tax, doubling the capital spend on building public and affordable homes, implementing a rent freeze on new and existing homes, and rent affordability measures.

The petition was started by Dr Rory Hearne, Assistant Professor at Maynooth University. Writing in The Journal earlier this month, the housing expert has said the investor takeover of homes is no accident – it’s government policy.

Speaking this morning, Hearne said: “As the Cabinet is set to meet to discuss the issues of investors buying up homes, they must realise that the public is opposed to increased role of cuckoo fund investors buying up homes, not just housing estates in commuter belts, houses and apartments are homes, and then renting them out at unaffordable rents.

“First-time buyers, people looking to buy a home, and people seeking to rent an affordable home, and local authorities and AHBs looking to buy social housing are all negatively affected by these real estate investor funds buying up houses and apartments.”

‘Anger and frustration’

Emily Duffy, Deputy Director of campaign group Uplift who supported the petition, said the response reflects people’s “anger and frustration”.

“My generation were told that we could either leave Ireland or accept a terrible quality of life of unaffordable housing, insecure jobs and underfunded primary healthcare.

“Now, as many of us look to put down roots, we are once again being told that there is no room in Ireland for us – while Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil continue to support the interests of corporate investors and landlords over that of ordinary people who want to have a secure home and a stable community,” Duffy said.

“The petition is a clear demand that the Government must implement meaningful and effective and immediate measures to stop the real estate funds,” she added.

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