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Thursday 27 July 2017

Senator defends gaffe on house prices

Michael Brennan Political Correspondent

THE leader of the Seanad has blamed the collapse in the global economy for the failure of a prediction he made last year about a new boom in the Irish property market.

Senator Donie Cassidy publicly declared on April 10 last year that house prices would rise between 25pc and 30pc within the space of 12 months.

"I will remind the house, perhaps in 12 or 18 months, when prices have again increased by 25pc or 30pc, that they were told this by the leader of the house on this historic day, the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement," he said.

There was amazement among his Seanad colleagues as he told potential first-time buyers that "now is the right time to buy". But since then, house prices have continued to fall rather than rise, with an overall decline of around 9.8pc nationally.

Mr Cassidy, who worked as a music promoter for bands like Foster and Allen, blamed the global economy for what had happened.

Global

"What nobody anticipated in Ireland was that the global thing was going to have such a downturn. Who would ever have thought in their wildest dreams that Lehman Brothers would go to the wall, that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would have to be bailed out?"

Mr Cassidy denied that he was trying to promote property sales with his over-optimistic predictions.

But he said for the second time in 11 months that "now was the right time to buy".

"It's a fantastic opportunity. From a young person's point of view, you can buy a four-bedroom semi-detached house for €200,000 in the Midlands. These houses were €320,000 two years ago," he said.

Mr Cassidy is one of the richest members in the Seanad, with his declaration on the register of interests showing rental income from nine properties as well as his ownership of the same.

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