News & Media

Government support is ‘deal of the century’ for cuckoo funds

8 July 2021

Statement by Ged Nash TD
Spokesperson on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform

Labour finance spokesperson Ged Nash said the Government’s decision to provide tax breaks for funds leasing homes to local Council is pathetic. 

Speaking in the Dáil last night, Deputy Nash said the policy of tax exemptions for cuckoo funds is economically illiterate and socially destructive.

These policies, he said, are being pursued to the long-term detriment of people and families throughout the country.

Deputy Nash said:

“Government’s hare-brained housing strategy and tax exemption policy for wealthy funds simply does not make any economic sense. 

“As we know, these funds are already leasing back these properties to local authorities at extravagant rates. Frankly, what the Government proposed and voted for last night is the deal of the century for these funds. They win every single time. They just cannot lose under this current regime and they certainly will not lose under this new system. 

“They have cast-iron 25-year deals with local authorities who will pay them top dollar every single month when they should be building. At the end of 25 years, the funds still own the property, which will, of course, have appreciated in value over that period of time. Given what we know and our experience, Government really should know better but they refuse to learn. 

“The Taoiseach continues to try and explain away the situation, but his rationale is pathetic and a form of emotional blackmail. He has claimed that 2,400 individuals and families are currently awaiting deals to be executed to provide them with a home. He hasn’t provided the evidence to back up his claim. 

“In his defence of the latest ill-considered proposition from Government on housing, the Taoiseach defended long-term leasing arrangements. What he was defending, however, was a failed policy. A failure to build sufficient homes which has led his government to do sweetheart deals with investment funds to provide leasing arrangements with Councils where there will only ever be one winner - the investment funds. 

“The Housing for All policy the Government plans to produce over the next few weeks will, the Taoiseach says, include a provision to ensure the State or local authority will own the property after a period of time. I will believe that when I see it. What the Government voted for last night was wrong-headed, ill-advised, and does not make economic sense.

“Ahead of Budget 2021, a full review of the tax treatment of REITs and IREFs must be undertaken along with the need to bring in a vacant homes tax.”