Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have bent over backwards for cuckoo funds. The catalogue of advantages they have given them include sweetheart tax deals, fast-track planning and reduced apartment design standards. Their support for cuckoo funds pushes ordinary people out of the housing market as they gobble up family homes in bulk and rent those homes back to families at extortionate rents.
Public anger came to boiling point earlier this year when a cuckoo fund was set to sweep up the majority of homes in a development in Maynooth from under the noses of ordinary home buyers. Instead of taking real action to clip the wings of these funds, their response was very limp. The stamp duty increase of 10% is easily absorbed by wealthy funds, which continue to pay zero tax on the hundreds of millions of euro they make from the outrageous rents they charge. Of course, they excluded apartments from the stamp duty increase, which means it is still open season for cuckoo funds on more than half of the homes that are built in this city. They literally hung the flag of surrender over Dublin for these investors. Then the Minister, Deputy Darragh O'Brien, dropped the stamp duty increase for funds that bulk-buy family homes if they lease those homes back to local authorities. That decision will see the State hand over €1 billion to cuckoo funds.
That was not meaningful action to put manners on these funds. Indeed, it showed them they really have nothing to fear from the Taoiseach's Government. When it comes to a choice between showing up for those in housing need or maintaining the power of wealthy investors, the Taoiseach has made it very clear whose side he is on.
Now it is a case of here we go again because on Sunday we learned the Taoiseach's Ministers, Deputies Darragh O’Brien and Paschal Donohoe, are looking to dust off the red carpet again and roll it out for these funds. As house prices continue to soar beyond the reach of ordinary workers and as extortionate rents continue to spin out of control, the Taoiseach's Ministers set out on a mission to attract in more of the very funds that wreck the housing market and rob people of an affordable roof over their heads.
There is no public support for this insanity. People want a change of direction. They want a Government that will take the lead and build homes that workers and families can afford to buy or rent. This is where the Taoiseach's focus and that of his Ministers should be, not on cosying up even further with cuckoo funds.
Tá tacaíocht an Taoisigh do na cuach-chistí ag spreagadh na géarchéime tithíochta seo. Ní féidir leis dul ar aghaidh. Tá daoine ag lorg rialtais atá chun tithe a thógáil a mbeidh oibrithe agus teaghlaigh in ann iad a cheannach nó a chíosadh. Did the Taoiseach know about this roadshow and approve of it? Can he tell us whom his Ministers intend to meet? Does he know that? What new sweetheart deals or incentives are they offering to these investors to bring them to Ireland? It is in the public interest that details of the Ministers' proposed cuckoo fund roadshow be published urgently. I want the Taoiseach to commit to this.