Wednesday 21 March 2018

Major row between Michael Noonan and Alan Kelly threatens to overshadow Budget

Michael Noonan
Michael Noonan

Niall O’Connor Political Correspondent

A major disagreement between Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Environment Minister Alan Kelly has threatened to overshadow Tuesday’s Budget giveaway.

After three separate meetings over the Government’s housing and rent strategy, talks between the two Cabinet ministers have ended without agreement.

Central to the row is a renewed sense of opposition from Mr Noonan and his officials to proposals to link rent bills to the rate of inflation until 2019.

Mr Kelly strongly believes the proposal, which has the legal backing of Attorney General Máire Whelan, will tackle spiralling accommodation costs.

Alan Kelly
Alan Kelly

But Mr Noonan and some of his advisors fear that the four year ‘sunset clause’ being proposed will stifle investment and cause property owners to flee the rental market.

Apart from the rent certainty measures, Mr Kelly is also struggling to secure agreement for his plans to offer incentives to developers who sell properties at below the market rate.

Any failure by Mr Kelly to get his housing/rent package over the line could seriously damage relations within the coalition.

“Things are very tense. This has the potential to cause war,” a Government source said on Monday night.

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