Tuesday 18 September 2018

'I didn’t get any handouts from my parents' - Taoiseach hits back at 'posh boy' accusations

Leo Varadkar
Leo Varadkar

Kevin Doyle and Laura Larkin

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has revealed he did not receive any money from his parents for a mortgage deposit – but says it’s what “happens every day in Middle Ireland”.

Mr Varadkar has defended comments made in the Dáil yesterday which resulted in Opposition politicians describing him as a “posh boy” who doesn’t live in the real world.

He stands over remarks about the different ways young people raising money for their first home, including that many “get money from their parents”.

However, Mr Varadkar said he did not receive any handouts because he was in a position to obtain a 100pc mortgage during the boom years.

This afternoon Mr Varadkar told Independent.ie: “Raising money for a deposit can be really hard especially if you have other bills like rent or childcare.

“So, lots of people get help from their family when raising a deposit for their first home.”

The Taoiseach said in some cases this might mean getting a site in a rural area or for others they may inherit “a bit of money from an elderly relative”.

“There’s nothing wrong with any of it, it’s not a mark of privilege. It’s what’s happens every day in Middle Ireland.

“But I also realise that's not an option for lots of people who are trying to secure a home, and that's why the Government is working so hard on this matter every day.

“That includes the Help to Buy Scheme which gives grants of up to €20,000 for first time buyers.”

Mr Varadkar’s comment that “lots of us”  got deposits from parents, led people to believe he was helped onto the property ladder by family money.

But responding to criticism from Opposition TDs, he said: “As it happens, I didn’t get any help with my deposit when I bought my home.

“I didn’t need it as I got a 40 year - 100pc mortgage from the bank. Of course, I was delighted at the time. But it was bad policy, all that did was drive up house prices more and more and saddle young people with debt and negative equity.”

He added that he was “alarmed” to hear opposition leaders calling for the government to offer 97pc mortgages to people.

“And it’s why I am so alarmed when I hear opposition spokespeople calling for tax breaks for developers. They have learned nothing,” he hit back.

Online Editors

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