Dono­hoe de­nies land­lord lob­by­ing

The Irish Times - Business - - BUSINESS NEWS - COLIN GLEE­SON and PETER HAMIL­TON

Min­is­ter for Fi­nance Paschal Dono­hoe has in­sisted he was not lob­bied by stake­hold­ers to in­crease in­ter­est re­lief on mort­gages for land­lords be­fore in­tro­duc­ing the mea­sure in last month’s bud­get.

The mea­sure in Bud­get 2019 means land­lords will be able to off­set 100 per cent of the in­ter­est they in­cur on mort­gages or loans linked to rental prop­er­ties, which is a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease on the cur­rent rate of 80 per cent.

In­crease in evic­tions

Mem­bers of the Oireach­tas fi­nance com­mit­tee, which was scru­ti­n­is­ing the fi­nance Bill yes­ter­day, claimed the mea­sure to in­cen­tivise land­lords to re­fur­bish prop­er­ties would lead to an in­crease in evic­tions. “Sub­stan­tial im­prove­ments are a ba­sis on which you can evict peo­ple and raise rents,” said Sol­i­dar­ity–Peo­ple Be­fore Profit TD Paul Mur­phy. “This is in­ad­ver­tently in­cen­tivis­ing evic­tions.”

Asked to in­form the com­mit­tee about the lob­by­ists he en­gaged with be­fore the bud­get, Mr Dono­hoe said: “In re­la­tion to en­gage­ments with my de­part­ment, I wasn’t lob­bied on this in re­la­tion to any stake­holder.” He re­jected the con­tention that the mea­sures would in­cen­tivise evic­tions and said pri­vate land­lords were needed to solve the hous­ing cri­sis.

Sinn Féin fi­nance spokesman Pearse Do­herty said the pro­posal was too rad­i­cal to be coun­te­nanced by “even the Tories”.

“It’s crazy stuff,” he said.

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