Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has called on the government to accept that their pro-developer shared equity loan plan is bad housing policy and should be scrapped.
Opening the Private Members’ debate this morning on the Sinn Féin motion on the scheme, Teachta Ó Broin said:
“The need for genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy were a key issue of the last general election.
“At no stage did Fianna Fáil mention this developer-led scheme as a solution to the crisis during the election campaign, and it is not a feature of the Programme for Government.
“This is plan by developers for developers. It will not help first-time buyers’ access more affordable homes. It will increase house prices and developers profit margins.
“In recent days, the government has been desperately scrambling and attempting to play down the significance of this scheme.
“They are now claiming that it is a short-term measure, that will target 0.7% of the mortgage market.
“However, this percentage is a lot higher for first-time buyers and a similar ‘short-term’ scheme has been in place in Britain since 2013, where the government has poured billions into it.
“Minister’s O’Brien’s new position on his developer scheme is far from the grandiose claims he was making when he brought his plan to cabinet last December.
“He suggested that up to 40,000 first-time buyers could eventually access the scheme. We also know from information received via an FOI that the Minister was seeking between €200 and €300m this year for the scheme.
“A far cry from the €75m he is now spinning as just over 2% of the overall housing budget.
“The reality is that once this scheme is place it will be very difficult to stop and we will be back to the bad old days of the Celtic Tiger.
“Buying a home is the single biggest purchase of most ordinary people’s lives. Government should be working to reduce the cost of housing not facilitating developer plans that will leave households saddled with additional debt.”