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Couples earning over €75,000 'can avail of new affordable home scheme'


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 (Stock photo)

(Stock photo)

Reuters

(Stock photo)

Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien has said couples with a combined income of more than €75,000 should be able to benefit from a new affordable homes scheme.

He also said he intended the guide price for such housing to be €160,000 to €260,000 as he clashed with Sinn Féin's Eoin Ó Broin on the issue in the Dáil.

It came after Mr Ó Broin asked him which of two models Mr O'Brien plans to use for the new scheme: providing homes at what it cost to build them or one involving shared equity.

Mr Ó Broin criticised the shared equity model, saying it was used by Fianna Fáil before the last economic crash and left many people in mortgage arrears.

He said in instances where the guide price was €250,000 to €260,000 people would end up paying around €300,000 and that was not "genuinely affordable".

In reply to Mr Ó Broin, Mr O'Brien insisted "there's not just two mechanisms to deliver affordable homes", while saying "it's important we get it right" and that he would not restrict himself to any particular scheme at this stage.

He also suggested there should not be a "salary cap" of €75,000 for couples as had had been included in recent Sinn Féin proposals.

He said couples in some urban areas including Dublin who had average incomes over that threshold should be included in an affordable homes scheme.

Mr Ó Broin, though, accused Mr O'Brien of evading his question on which model he would choose for the scheme. In turn Mr O'Brien attacked Sinn Féin proposals on affordable housing which he claimed would bring in an "inferior" and "unworkable" scheme with an "arbitrary cap" of €75,000 for a couple.

Mr Ó Broin attempted to interrupt Mr O'Brien but the minister told him "the public out there don't want to see you... bickering with me.

"What they want to see is an affordable purchase scheme that delivers for them and that's what this Government intends to do," he said. "When I have that plan I will publish it."

In response to another TD's question, Mr O'Brien said: "We won't exclude couples that earn over €75,000 -unlike other parties."

Irish Independent