Taoiseach refuses to confirm plan to attract cuckoo funds to Ireland

Micheal Martin accused Sinn Fein of mounting ‘propaganda spin’.
Taoiseach refuses to confirm plan to attract cuckoo funds to Ireland

By Cate McCurry, PA

The Taoiseach has refused to confirm whether a Government department is planning a number of roadshows to attract more “cuckoo funds” to Ireland.

It was reported at the weekend that two senior ministers may appear at international events in a bid to “reassure” investors over Government legislation to clamp down on bulk-buying of homes.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien could be in line to give presentations for institutional investors in London, according to the Irish Daily Mail.

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald raised the matter in the Dail, and asked Micheal Martin to clarify whether he approved of the roadshow.

The Government has faced pressure to bring in measures to prevent the bulk buying of houses by cuckoo funds after many individuals and families were prevented from buying homes in new developments.

“Your support for cuckoo funds pushes ordinary people out of the housing market, as they gobble up family homes in bulk and rent these homes back to families at extortionate rents,” Ms McDonald said.

“Instead of taking real action to clip the wings of these funds, your response was very limp.

“Your stamp duty increase of 10% is easily absorbed by wealthy funds who continue to pay zero tax on the hundreds of millions they make from the outrageous rents that they charge.

“You of course excluded apartments from the stamp duty increase which means it’s still open season for cuckoo funds on more more than half of the homes that are built in this city.

“You literally hung the flag of surrender over Dublin for these investors.

“On Sunday we learn that your ministers Darragh O’Brien and Paschal Donohue are looking to dust off the red carpet again and roll it out for these funds.

“As house prices continued to soar beyond the reach of ordinary workers, as extortionate rents spin out of control, your minister set out on a mission to attract in more of the very funds that wrecked the housing market and rob people have an affordable roof over their heads.

“Your treatment of cuckoo funds and putting their needs over those of ordinary citizens has literally made an international laughing stock of Ireland.”

Ms McDonald asked who the ministers plan to meet and whether Mr Martin approved of the arrangement.

Mr Martin did not answer the questions put to him during leaders’ questions.

 

He instead accused Sinn Fein of mounting a “propaganda spin”.

“(It is) designed to portray government housing policy has being exclusively about one thing and one thing only, which of course is far from the truth,” Mr Martin added.

“This government is very committed to really enhancing public housing supply and also in terms of affordable housing in a very substantive way for the first time ever.

“In relation to institutional investment and in relation to the private houses, there has to be a private sector dimension to all of this as well.”

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