Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has called on the Minister for Finance to clarify the level of funding he has provided, through the Irish Strategic Investment Fund and Home Building Finance Ireland, to investment funds that have proceeded to snap up new homes.
This comes following a report from Killian Woods of the Business Post, which outlined how the Irish Strategic Investment Fund, which is owned by the Minister, provided €60 million to Urbeo investment fund in 2018 before snapping up 242 new homes in Maynooth across two developments in 2019.
Teachta Doherty reiterated his call for the Government to implement long-standing Sinn Féin policy by ending the tax advantages given to these investment funds with the imposition of a stamp duty surcharge.
Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said:
“Reports in the Business Post that the State has provided hundreds of million of euros to investment funds that are pricing struggling home buyers out of the housing market raises serious questions for the Minister for Finance.
“The Government have dishonestly argued that the block purchase of family homes by investment funds is a new development.
“Far from it, it has been happening for years as a direct consequence of Fine Gael and Government policy.
“Reports by Killian Woods in the Business Post confirm that Urbeo bought up 242 new homes across two developments in Maynooth in 2019 alone, which it then rented out at extortionate prices.
“Not only does this puncture the Government’s argument, but it has come to light that the State actually gave Urbeo €60 million the year before through the Irish Strategic Investment Fund.
“Minister Donohoe has ownership of this Fund and must explain why he thinks it is appropriate for €60 million of taxpayers’ money to be given to an investment fund that is pricing workers and families out of home ownership.
“Not only did Fine Gael roll out the red carpet for these funds with generous tax breaks, they also provided them with hundreds of million of euros worth of taxpayers’ money.
“The Finance Minister must also reveal the funding and finance that he and his Government have provided to these investment funds through Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI).
“Minister Donohoe must clarify if HBFI have provided financing to developments that are subject to forward purchases by these investment funds.
“It is time for the Minister and this Government to finally implement long-standing Sinn Féin policy by ending the tax advantages these funds enjoy and imposing a stamp duty surcharge on their purchases of residential property.”