Workers with jobs based as far from the capital as Mullingar, Tullamore, Dundalk, or Gorey could be eligible to buy discounted homes in Dublin, under new affordable housing plans.
However, those who have had to move outside the capital and commute to the city to work are unlikely to secure homes in Dublin under the provisions of the new scheme.
The scheme for choosing affordable housing buyers was going to cause "mass confusion", Independent councillor Mannix Flynn said.
“There should just be one national scheme so if you are living in Monaghan but working in Dublin you can apply for a house in either area, depending on what suits your life.”
Sinn Féin councillor Daithí Doolan said the scheme needed to be amended.
“It discriminates against families who have had to move out of Dublin because of rent hikes. It shows a lack of reality about how people are having to live their lives,” he said.
In January 2018, the Government announced plans to use public land for the State’s first affordable housing purchase scheme since 2011.
Homes will be aimed at workers who cannot secure mortgages to buy on the open market, but do not qualify for social housing. Single applicants must earn less than €50,000, while the limit for a couple will be €75,000. Once the homes are built, they will be sold to qualifying buyers at a discount of up to 40 per cent on market rates.
Local authorities have yet to build the homes, but they have been ordered to establish a “scheme of priority” to determine in what order prospective buyers will be chosen.
The basic criteria will be that the homes are the right size for the buyer, as in a one-bedroom apartment would be available to single people or couples, while a three-bedroom house would be for a family with two or three children.
However, with demand likely to be considerably higher than the supply of homes, further criteria has to be put in place. The next group to be considered would be a family where at least one member had been living in Dublin for at least 12 months.
If there were still too many applicants, this would be narrowed down to those living in the area for at least 12 months who have a child in an educational institution less than 30km from the house for sale.
If there are still too few houses to cater for those applicants, they would be further narrowed down to those with a household member who had a job anywhere within a 100km radius of the house.
And if there were still not enough homes, which is a likely scenario based on demand for previous schemes, this group – which has the right-sized household, at least one family member living in Dublin for 12 months, a child in education within 30km of the house, and a job within 100km of the house – would be dealt with on a first come, first served basis.
However, the priority scheme does not include people who have had to move outside Dublin to afford rent and commute to the city for work.
The rules of the system will be presented to city councillors in early June. All local authorities must return their draft priority scheme to the Department of Housing by the end of June.