Cork TD voices opposition to changes to ‘cuckoo funds’ legislation

Cork TD voices opposition to changes to ‘cuckoo funds’ legislation

Solidarity TD Mick Barry has accused the Government of engaging in a "spectacular climbdown" on the issue of tackling vulture funds. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

A Cork TD has voiced strong opposition to proposed legislative changes to allow "cuckoo funds" and vulture funds that lease properties back to the state to avoid stamp duty.

Solidarity TD Mick Barry has accused the Government of engaging in a "spectacular climbdown" on the issue of tackling vulture funds.

"Nine weeks ago the Taoiseach was spitting fire about the actions of the vultures and the cuckoos and telling the country that he was the man to clip their wings.

“Today he's the leader of a Government which is offering them a new incentive to bulk buy.

“It's a pretty spectacular climbdown by any standards but worse again when you consider that it means the taxpayer is going to be paying over the odds for social housing and the winners are going to be the vulture funds yet again,” Deputy Barry said this morning.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Taoiseach Micheál Martin claimed the amendment will mean 2,400 families can avail of social housing this year.

Under new planning rules, a 10% stamp duty for bulk purchases of 10 or more properties will apply.

The measure is aimed at tackling so-called cuckoo funds buying up housing developments from first-time buyers.

However, a change to the legislation that will exempt vulture funds that lease the properties back to local authorities for social housing has been proposed.

"The reason being is that for quite some time now leasing has been a feature, I have a view on that and we're going to change that and we are in a transition phase," Mr Martin said.

"There's 2,400 social housing that can be provided to families through this leasing right now.

"We just can't turn off the tap immediately.

"Yes, we can move to different models and transition to different models."

Mr Martin said that the approach taken by some local authorities to tackle homelessness has been assisted by the leasing model.

"My own view is that any model of leasing should be one where the State ends up owning the homes, so there will be a move," he added.

The vote is expected to take place in the Dáil later tonight.

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