FF renews criticism of Government’s housing initiative

TD Darragh O’Brien dismisses budget measure as ‘help-to-sell scheme’

Fianna Fáil has renewed its criticism of the Government's budget help-to-buy scheme to assist those buying houses for the first time.

Darragh O’Brien, the party’s spokesman on foreign affairs and trade, told the Dáil on Thursday it would do nothing other than push up prices further, adding the initiative was a “help-to-sell scheme’’.

The Dublin Fingal TD said the supply issue had not been addressed.

“Why would a builder or developer, who is currently selling houses at €400,000 not increase those prices up further?” he asked. “The Government has given him a blank cheque, effectively.’’


He said the rental market in Dublin and across the country was up to 2007 levels.

He said renting a two-bedroom apartment in Dublin could cost €1,750 monthly. “Yet this Government expects people to be able to save a 20 per cent deposit to buy a house,’’ he added. “To get on the property ladder, is practically impossible.’’

He said the Central Bank governor was still refusing to do anything with the deposit rates he had set down.

Mr O’Brien said an €80,000 deposit was required for a €400,000 house in Dublin, if a buyer was lucky to secure it.

Minister for Education Richard Bruton, who was taking Opposition Leaders' Questions, said the Government recognised there was a housing supply problem. There were very few starter-homes being built.

He added Minister for Housing Simon Coveney had made provision for first-time buyers to get a tax rebate of up to €20,000 which would be immediately reckonable towards a deposit.

“This will immediately help more young people to get into the starter market,’’ he added.

Michael O'Regan

Michael O'Regan

Michael O’Regan is a former parliamentary correspondent of The Irish Times