Eamon Ryan insists rents can be reduced in investor apartment stamp duty row

Green party leader faces trenchant opposition criticism in Dáil on housing decision

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan insisted the city did not belong to vulture funds or international investors but to the people. Photograph: Julien Behal

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan insisted the city did not belong to vulture funds or international investors but to the people. Photograph: Julien Behal

 

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has insisted his party is committed to apartment living and ownership as he rejected opposition claims of abandoning young people in Dublin by excluding apartments from stamp duty increases on investment funds.

The Minister for Climate Change and Communications said the Government agreed they would “come back” to the issue through the Affordable Housing Bill, currently going through the Seanad to assess what further measures could be taken to deliver on that and create “high quality urban living”.

He stressed that the use of the cost rental model of housing was key to bringing down high rents.

Amid trenchant criticism from Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty and Social Democrats joint leader Róisín Shortall, Mr Ryan insisted a multifaceted approach is needed. “Central to that is creating apartment living which is a home.”

The Government last night passed a financial motion to increase from 1 per cent to 10 per cent the stamp duty on bulk purchases of 10 homes or more in housing developments in a bid to address investment funds buying up complete developments.

Opposition parties warned that the “bare minimum” measures would not work and Mr Doherty introduced amendments that were voted down on including apartments, increasing the stamp duty to 17 per cent and charging corporation tax on multiple purchases.

During leaders’ questions in the Dáil taken by Mr Ryan, Mr Doherty claimed the Green party had supported “more of the same”.

He told Mr Ryan “you have surrendered this city to international vultures”, and “consigned young people to extortionate rents well into the future”.

“You have said to the vulture funds this is a free for all, Dublin city is yours.”

The Donegal TD read out a number of examples of young people struggling to buy a home and claimed the Green party was now part of a Government that was “shattering the dreams and hopes of young people”.

The Minister insisted however the city did not belong to vulture funds or international investors but to the people.

He said he was fully aware of the difficulties facing young people as his Dublin Bay South constituency had the highest rents and prices in the State.

The Minister pledged that “we will not leave a generation behind”.

Acknowledging that the “current model is broken”, he promised that the same priority given to the Covid-19 pandemic would be targeted at housing and climate change.

But he said “it takes time and we have to be honest with people”.

Ms Shortall said the Minister had failed and had provided cuckoo funds with a “planning bonanza”.This meant Dublin city would be a “no go area for first time buyers”.

The Dublin North-West TD said the previous government cut the cost of creating apartments which instead of cutting the price allowed investment funds to profit more, by charging extortionate rents while making apartments “impossible to buy”.

Mr Ryan had an opportunity to do something by increasing stamp duty on investment funds for apartment buying but instead he had “failed the people in Dublin city centre”.

The Minister insisted however that “huge amounts of money will go to social housing” and that the Government had to make homes affordable.

Cost rental housing was critical to cutting high rents, he said, adding that the Land Development Agency would be key to developing housing at scale on public lands.