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Dublin city is a 'free for all' for vulture funds, Dáil told

Doherty read out some personal testimonies into the Dáil record from people who say they will never be able to save to buy their own home.

Opposition TDs have criticised he government for not including apartments under new measures to deal with investment funds.
Opposition TDs have criticised he government for not including apartments under new measures to deal with investment funds.
Image: Oireachtas.ie

HOUSING ONCE AGAIN dominated Leaders’ Questions today with Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty telling Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan that by not including apartments in the new measures announced this week, it is giving a green light to vulture funds to buy up properties. 

“You have said to the vulture funds, it’s a free for all. Dublin City is yours. Because that is the effect of your policies,” said the Sinn Féin finance spokesperson. 

Under plans announced this week, the purchase of more than ten residential houses by a buyer will see them face an increased stamp duty of 10%. 

This higher charge, as well as applying to bulk purchases, will also apply to a situation where a person acquires 10 or more units on a cumulative basis over a 12-month period

Once triggered, the 10% rate will apply to all houses acquired in that 12 month period, including the first nine purchases. 

However, the government has been criticised in many quarters for not applying the new measures to apartments.

Opposition TDs have voiced concerns about the ability for people to get the opportunity to buy an apartment to live in, as well as why the ring-fencing of a certain amount of properties for owner occupiers was also not included for apartments.

Doherty read out some personal testimonies into the Dáil record from people who have spent years renting and say they will never be able to save to buy.

One young couple said they spend  €1400-€1500 per month in rent in Cork, and will never have the hope that they can to save for a mortgage.

Another said her daughter is trying to save with her partner, but they can’t make the deposit or get a big enough mortgage to buy. Doherty read out other examples from people who said they thought the situation was hopeless.

He said the Greens promised their would be change if they were in government, but they have signed up for more of the same with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

Ryan, who was taking Leaders’ Questions today as the Tánaiste is in Brussels for an EU trade meeting, said: “We will not leave them behind.”

The government will do everything in its power to make sure young people can afford a home, he said.

“The current market is broken, it needs a radical change,” he said. He said mixed developments are needed, stating that the new cost-rental model will be key to solving the problems. He indicated that further changes could be on the way, stating:

“We agreed that we would further look at amendments in this Affordable Housing Bill,” he added.

Ryan said Dublin “does not belong to any investor”, adding “it belongs to the people”.

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“Maybe you don’t realise it, but you have abandoned this generation,’ Doherty said to Ryan. 

Social Democrats Roísín Shortall also hit out at the government, telling the transport minister that apartments are homes too to many people. 

Ryan said one way to reduce the cost of building apartments is not to provide car parking for everyone. However, regulations brought in under the former Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy in 2018 means that many apartment blocks proposed in Dublin already exclude car parking.

Criticising the former housing minister, Shortall said his “bright idea” to slash costs for funds did nothing for home buyers or renters. She said the initiatives were not brought in for the people, but for the funds, stating that apartment blocks being built now in the cities are being snapped up by funds.

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