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Fianna Fáil still can’t answer why they are proposing illegal housing policies – Brophy

19th November 2019 - Colm Brophy TD

Fianna Fáil still can’t answer why they are proposing illegal housing policies, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Dublin South West TD, Colm Brophy, said, “Fianna Fáil have not answered a very simple question – after years of producing no substantial policies, how is it that their first proposals on housing are illegal?

“Micheál Martin has led the charge on touting a range of housing proposals that are incoherent in the round. Some are illegal and un-implementable, others are already in place. Other proposals are vague and costly, and Fianna Fáil have given us no idea how they will pay for them.

“But even more worryingly, two of the measures they are proposing are illegal.

“The first is that they will ensure that the Central Bank’s mortgage lending rules are changed. That is an entirely disingenuous proposal, as under EU and Irish law, the Central Bank is independent in its functions and cannot be directed in matters of policy by the Government.

“The second illegal measure proposed was to bring in a reduced VAT rate for first-time buyers. On the face of it, a good idea, but unfortunately under EU and Irish legislation, there cannot be a different VAT rate for different types of buyers.

“Were these proposals suggested by Housing Spokesperson Darragh O’Brien? Or were these top-of-the-head ideas from a party leader who realises that people are beginning to notice that his is a party with no policy ideas, no solutions and no plans?

“Fianna Fáil also announced last weekend that they ‘will establish a shared ownership scheme where the government takes a stake in your home to reduce the price for you’. That already exists and is called the Affordable Purchase Scheme.

“But the lack of thought, consideration and research on the part of Fianna Fáil continues apace. Last week, Deputy Martin also proposed a rent freeze for tenants. However, as usual Fianna Fáil provided no detail. How long would the rent freeze last? Would it be for a few years or forever? Would it apply to existing tenancies only?

“Or would it apply to new tenants coming into the market? Has it been reviewed for constitutionality, given the previous Supreme Court rulings on this matter? If so, by whom? Have Fianna Fáil considered the impact this would have on supply into the market?

“Since 2016, just five out of 22 Fianna Fáil front bench TDs have produced a policy paper, proving that Fianna Fáil are an empty vessel, lacking plans for issues including Brexit, health, housing, broadband, climate, jobs, childcare.

“Until now instead of policies we have seen press releases and promises of policies coming down the line.

“The first glimpse of these so-called proposals have been, to say the least, dismal.

“In their rush to mask their shocking lack of policy offerings, Fianna Fáil appear to have decided to float whatever half-formed idea that comes to mind, irrespective of whether it is a genuine idea which can deliver for people, or if it is just something to distract from their utter lack of policy.

“Fianna Fáil should stop proposing ideas off the top of their heads and do some actual research,” Deputy Brophy concluded.

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