Sunday 25 September 2016

Budget 2016: Labour 'very unhappy' as major row between Kelly and Noonan puts rent certainty in doubt

Daniel McConnell, Niall O'Connor and Kevin Doyle

Published 13/10/2015 | 08:57

Government’s plans to address renting crisis is thrown into serious doubt following major row between Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Environment Minister Alan Kelly
Government’s plans to address renting crisis is thrown into serious doubt following major row between Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Environment Minister Alan Kelly

Labour Ministers are said to be “very unhappy” with the failure to agree a plan to deal with spiralling rent costs, it can be revealed.

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The Government’s plans to address the crisis have been thrown into serious doubt following a major row between Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Environment Minister Alan Kelly.

Speaking to Independent.ie, Labour sources have expressed their deep unhappiness over the row, which threatens to overshadow the Government’s giveaway Budget.

Talks between the two ministers and their officials had expected to conclude last night with an agreement on a so-called 'rent certainty' package.

But according to sources this morning, the talks broke down without agreement and will resume in a week's time.

“Agreement was not reached and yes we are at odds at what should be done,” said one source.

It is understood that the Department of Finance are hesitant to sign off on the proposed package for fear of its impact on the market.

Asked about the discussions around the housing plan, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: “The minister for housing and environment are obviously looking at a package of measures on the supply side which is the real problem here.”

He said that discussions were ongoing with Finance Minister Michael Noonan to ensure that any measures would be introduced “without interfering with the market to its disadvantage”.

There is now serious doubt over whether Mr Kelly can succeed in his plans to link rent bills to inflation in a bid to tackle spiralling accommodation costs.

Sources say Department of Finance officials believe such a move, which has the legal backing of the Attorney General, would stifle investment. But sources in Labour insist there is no alternative to rent certainty.

The row threatens to overshadow today’s Budget.

Meanwhile, Mr Kenny said that the Dáil will also pay tribute to the victims of the Carrickmines fire and Garda Tony Golden before the Budget.

“First of all today is an important day. It’s a day when we pay tribute in the Dáil to those who lost their lives,” he said.

The Taoiseach also said “the work of government goes on” with other issues also up for discussion for this day including measures to share tax measures with certain countries and to tackle violence against women.

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