Donohoe stakes Government’s reputation on fixing housing crisis

Seen & Heard: Minister says housing is the most pressing problem of a generation

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: “Our success in this area will be a mark of our success as a caring, compassionate country.” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: “Our success in this area will be a mark of our success as a caring, compassionate country.” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

“It’s housing, stupid” seems to be the new political mantra of the day. In an article published in the Sunday Independent, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe effectively staked the Government’s reputation on resolving the housing crisis.

He admitted the “success” of the Government will be determined by its ability to tackle and correct the current imbalance.

He described it as “the most pressing problem of a generation”, saying the Government “must and will build more homes, tackle housing waiting lists and reduce homelessness” next year.

His comments echo those of Fianna Fail’s Barry Cowen, who said the next election would be about housing, not the economy or Brexit.

In his article, Mr Donohoe said: “I believe we cannot live up to the expectations of a modern democracy if we do not do all we can to ensure that everyone has a shelter and roof over their heads.”

He added: “Our success in this area will be a mark of our success as a caring, compassionate country.”

Apple’s secret warning to Varadkar over jobs

The exclusive lead story for the Sunday Business Post centres on a warning received by the Taoiseach from Apple that the State’s housing crisis and planning laws could impact the iPhone maker’s operations here.

Confidential documents reveal that the tech giant highlighted concerns with Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar last September about the cost and availability of accommodation in Cork, where its Irish operations are based.

The company is also reported to have highlighted planning delays that have stalled plans for its new data centre in Athenry.

Doubts about Apple’s commitment to building a €850 million data centre in Athenry have intensified after the company’s chief executive, Tim Cook, failed to give Mr Varadkar a commitment about the project during a meeting at Apple’s headquarters in California last month.

Businesses appeal rate hikes

The Sunday Business Post also has story about 1,200 businesses appealing increases in their commercial rate bills. In some cases the increases are up to 400 per cent.

The bills are going up due to the first national valuation programme of its kind for 160 years, the paper said.

It noted that some 1,200 businesses have already lodged appeals against their new valuations. Each year businesses pay around €1.5 billion in commercial rates based on their valuations.

Labour Party TD Joan Burton, who obtained the figures, said the increase in bills had come as a shock to many businesses.

“When there are swingeing increases in rates – out of line with inflation – and when commercial rents are rising so rapidly, it can be a bit of a double whammy,” she said.