Monday 17 December 2018

Out of touch? Varadkar's comments 'infuriate' those dreaming of buying their own home

Louise O Brien and Roy Folliard, who are looking to buy a home, pictured at their rented house in Harolds Cross. Picture Credit: Frank Mc Grath
Louise O Brien and Roy Folliard, who are looking to buy a home, pictured at their rented house in Harolds Cross. Picture Credit: Frank Mc Grath
Aaron Byrne and Caoimhe Lennon
First time buyers Lisa Dunn and Cieran Keane who are currently living in Knocklyn Dublin. Photo: Justin Farrelly.
Peggy Kearney, 69, a pensioner from Ahane Co Kerry
Tracy McGinnis with her son Brendan

Laura Larkin and Laura Lynott

Leo Varadkar has defended his remark that househunters can “get money from their parents” for a deposit saying it “happens every day in Middle Ireland”.

The Taoiseach received widespread criticism for his comment, with Opposition politicians describing him as a “posh boy” who doesn’t live in the real world.

However yesterday he stood over his remarks about the different ways young people raise money for a deposit for their first home, saying many of them receive money from their parents.

His comments have angered many people who dream of buying a home in Ireland.

We can’t find home to rent, let alone save a deposit

Roy Folliard and Louise O’Brien are living in a three-bed €2,000-a-month rented house and they can’t find a new rental, let alone save for a mortgage.

Construction worker Roy (34) and hospitality worker Louise (32) have been given notice to move out of their Harold’s Cross, Dublin, home – but after a month looking they can’t find new accommodation.

“We would love to save for a mortgage,” Roy told the Irish Independent. “But we’ve been paying huge rent, so there’s no way to save anything between that and bills.

“Now we can’t even find a new rented home. I had been living in Mayo, where I’m from, and travelling up to Dublin for work but I was getting up at 5am and not getting home until 9pm. I was exhausted and had no life. A lot of lads are doing that in construction and they spend half their lives on the road, miserable. I moved up for quality of life but it’s too expensive in Dublin to rent.

“But you can’t move out of Dublin either because when you leave the city, there’s hardly any work.

“Leo Varadkar needs to stop with unhelpful comments and actually take action to help the majority of this generation. 

“I was the one who helped my parents, who have a farmhouse, pay their mortgage when they needed me. I don’t have the option of help.”

We’d like to have had kids years ago

Aaron Byrne says he and fiancée Caoimhe Lennon are part of a “lost generation” forced to put life on hold.

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Aaron Byrne and Caoimhe Lennon

Aaron, a 28-year-old analyst from Deansgrange, Co Dublin, and Montessori teacher Caoimhe, also 28, from Sallynoggin, have never lived outside of their family homes.

“Our lives were put on hold,” Aaron said. “I’ve lived at home all my life. It’s depressing. When you’re 18, getting a degree, you don’t contemplate you’ll be sitting under your parents’ roof at 28.

“Getting married, having kids – it was something we would’ve liked to have done years ago. Leo Varadkar has to know this isn't how it should be just to own your own home.”

The couple have been saving for several years and finally at Christmas they got the welcome news that their offer had been accepted on a €180,000 three-bed house in Gorey, Co Wexford.

But now the problem of a lengthy commute every day will begin – and it has been made more difficult as Caoimhe sold her car to help secure a mortgage deposit.

His comments make our situation harder to bear

Lisa Dunn and her fiancé Kieran Keane have lived at home with their parents all their lives and, despite saving a €30,000 deposit, there’s still no end in sight as they look for a home in the capital.

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First time buyers Lisa Dunn and Cieran Keane who are currently living in Knocklyn Dublin. Photo: Justin Farrelly.

Lisa (28) and Kieran (31) have sacrificed living together in a rented home because they wanted to save for their own home. They will marry in September 2019 and still their future home is unclear.

Lisa, who works in digital marketing, and Kieran, who works in hospitality, spend every weekend house-hunting and now, Lisa says, “It’s a touchy subject.”

“People try to be helpful, saying ‘Are you not saving enough staying at home?’ But the truth is, it’ll never be enough.

“We tried to move out into a rental but it was too expensive, so we saved to have our own home.

“I took up a second job at one point to help but I was cranky, exhausted. It makes our situation harder to bear to hear the Taoiseach’s comments.

“We had a little help from our parents with the deposit but still we can’t find a home. I have a brother and sister behind me – I don’t know how my parents can keep helping.”

You’d worry about your own future,’ says mum

“It's an awful ask,” said mother-of-four Peggy Kearney (69), from Ahane, Co Kerry, of the Taoiseach’s suggestion that the ‘bank of mum and dad’ should help stump up for a deposit on a house for their children.

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Peggy Kearney, 69, a pensioner from Ahane Co Kerry

She lives a modest life on the State pension with her husband Thomas Kearney (75) in a council house that was built on her parent’s land.

Her youngest child lived with her into his twenties, which she said caused her some financial hardship, but now all four of her children are married and settled with homes of her own.

“I wouldn’t be able to do it and I think a lot of parents wouldn’t be able to do it,” she said of Leo Varadkar’s suggestion that parents help fund deposits for their children.

“Unless you’re very rich I don’t know how anyone could do it.

“For a deposit you’d be looking at €30,000 at least and that’s an awful lot of money,” she said.

“You’d be worried about your own future – if I have to go into a home, you’d need all the money you have. Even €100,000 doesn’t seem to go far,” said Peggy, adding that many of her generation are already under great strain looking after their grandchildren.

“Some of the things he comes out with – I think he’s totally out of touch,” she said of the Taoiseach.

“He’s an only son with wealthy parents so he’s not going to worry,” said Peggy.

I’m a carer, I’ll never own a home’ - mother-of-two

A mother who cares for her son round-the-clock struggled for a year to find a rental. And she’s angered she will never own a home to fill with family memories.

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Tracy McGinnis with her son Brendan

Mother-of-two Tracy McGinnis (52) recently uprooted from Co Kildare to Dundalk, with seriously disabled son Brendan (13) and Declan (9).

“It took a year to find a rented home and the chance of buying is completely out of reach for me as a carer,” Tracy said.

“My mother and father are long dead, so I can’t ask for their help to get a deposit. But I would love a forever home because Brendan is palliative and I don’t want to have to keep moving him round to different rentals.

“Carers save this State billions because we provide a service to look after our loved ones 24-7.

“The State will pay out huge sums in Housing Assistance Payment, but it won’t pay home carers a wage to make us employed. If it did, we could then apply for mortgages.

“Brendan has cerebral palsy and epilepsy. He is non-verbal and can’t sit, roll over or hold his head up and he has to be fed by tube.”

Irish Independent

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