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Fostertown Place, Swords Sam Boal/

Varadkar says it’s ‘not the worst thing’ that Ryanair is buying up homes for staff

25 of the 28 units in a new development at Fostertown Place in Swords were purchased by Ryanair for their cabin crew.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR says he does not have any issue with Ryanair or other companies buying up almost entire housing estates for their staff.

He said there is a big difference between companies like Ryanair bulk-buying houses and apartments compared to investment funds.

“We are building over 30,000 new homes now every year,” he said.

“If you think about it, that’s 70,000, 80,000 or 90,000 bedrooms every year so we are finally seeing housing being built on scale,” Varadkar said. 

“We want to scale that up this year and next year as well because we do have a rising population and family sizes are getting smaller, so we need more housing and we are making progress,” he said. 

“In relation to Ryanair specifically, I don’t think it is the worst thing that a company would buy accommodation for their staff. It’s not the first time this has happened, it has been happening for centuries,” the Taoiseach added. 

“I think it is different to an investment fund, for example, buying up houses that could be bought by families.”

He was responding to criticism after 25 of the 28 units in a new development at Fostertown Place in Swords were purchased by Ryanair for their cabin crew.

The Taoiseach was speaking in Athenry where he opened BIA Innovator campus where €8 million has been provided in funding to assists start-up, micro and small food businesses in three state of the art buildings on the Teagasc complex.

He said these workers would also need housing and that some companies had been proactive in sourcing accommodation for generations.

“A lot of the people who work for Ryanair are local people and they are people living around Swords and living around towns around the airport and some of them live in my own constituency. The fundamental thing we need to ensure is there is enough housing for everyone to buy,” Varadkar said. 

“A huge amount of housing is being built in Swords, the Fingal area, affordable schemes, cost rental schemes, a lot of that coming through and what we need to do when it comes to housing is instead of having people fighting over the pie, it’s about making sure the pie is big enough for everyone,” he said. 

“One of the things I was delighted to see today was the number of first-time buyers drawing down their mortgage is at levels we have not seen since 2007. I was in my 20s in 2007 so it’s great to see we are back to that stage again where so many people are able to buy their own homes,” he added.

People Before Profit Fingal has condemned Ryanair’s purchase of the homes. 

“Bulk purchasing by corporations and vulture funds must be banned from our society,” People Before Profit Swords representative Ollie Power said. 

With reporting by Hayley Halpin

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