Monday 21 October 2019

Government accused of 'dashing hopes' of young people trying to buy their own homes

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin. Photo: PA
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin. Photo: PA
John Downing

John Downing

The Government has “dashed the hopes” of young people trying to buy their own homes after a State-back loan scheme has suddenly run out of money, the Dáil has heard.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin told the Dáil that Housing Minister, Eoghan Murphy, had insisted that there would be enough funding for the Rebuilding Ireland Home loan scheme to meet the demand. 

Mr Martin said there was a pledge of more funding – even after the €200m fund ceiling had been exceeded but it has only now come to light that this was not the case.

But Taoiseach Leo Varadkar hit back and accused the Fianna Fáil of “prancing around the place” and “wagging the finger” while the Government was trying to help people.

The scheme offered homeloans to single people earning under €50,000 per year, or couples with €75,000 per year,  who had been turned down for a mortgage by conventional lenders.

Mr Martin said many young couples now faced paying more in rents than they would for the mortgage,  with an uncertain future for their hopes of owning their own homes.

“The Minister said there was going to be no issue here and that he would set up a second fund,” Mr Martin said.

“Why all the secrecy and silence about it? Why can’t you guys be up front with people and straight with people?”  Mr Martin asked.

The Taoiseach replied: “Deputy, while you’re prancing about the place and wagging the finger, we’re trying to do things and help people".

The Taoiseach said 10,000 people had availed of tax concessions to help them save a deposit for a home.  He said 575 people had received the Rebuilding Ireland Homeloan and another 1,000 people had been approved.

Mr Varadkar said that since the €200m ceiling was now exceeded the Government was considering whether more money should be provided. 

He said the Government had to consult the Central Bank to see whether they were “comfortable” with this in line with lending rules aimed at avoiding a property market crash.

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