Micheál Martin says apartments will be exempt from 10% stamp duty because of need for "capital"
He said the Government is "not in a position" to provide all of the necessary housing.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said that apartments will be exempt from the introduction of a 10% stamp duty because of the need for "capital" from investors.
Cabinet agreed on Tuesday that bulk purchases of ten or more houses will be subject to a 10% stamp duty.
However, while the measures will apply to all houses in the State, apartments will be excluded.
Following the move, Cian O'Callaghan Social Democrats TD said in the Dáil on Wednesday that it is "abundantly clear" that the Government "supports 100% of new-build apartments being sold off to investment funds".
"Why is it that the Government does not support homeownership for smaller households, for individuals, for older couples who maybe want to move out of a family home into an apartment but don't want to rent, O'Callaghan said.
"Why is the Government opposed to homeownership for people who want it in inner cities and in apartments?
"Can I ask you, if you're serious about tackling investment funds, and I don't think there is any indication that the Government is - if you're serious about that would you not tackle rents and rent levels and new bills so that investment funds wouldn't get such a high return, and give people a fair chance in terms of rent, and give people who want to buy a fair chance?"
Mick Barry People Before Profit TD added that he believes the exclusion of apartments from the Affordable Housing Bill was "a concession" to vulture funds.
"What a concession, what a concession that you've made Taoiseach to the vulture funds by excluding apartments entirely from the legislation because that's where the big money is," Barry said.
"Are the first-time buyers, are the young people who want to get into the market and buy an apartment for a home for themselves and their family, are they not being squeezed out of the market by the vultures?
"Why do you let the vultures off the hook so completely by excluding the apartment sector entirely from this? I put it to you that it's a huge let-off for the vultures that you're giving them."
The Taoiseach responded by saying that the Government has "no agenda in promoting any particular group in society, fund or whatever."
"The only objective is to get houses and apartments built and to get a variety of housing and apartments for homeownership, social housing, affordable housing, cost-rental, there will be a rental market, there will be a homeownership market," Martin said.
"The Government has had a whole range of proposals, all of which you opposed, from the Affordable Housing Bill, to the Shared Equity Scheme to the Land Development Agency Bill, all of which will provide housing, and all of you seem to be opposed to mixed housing developments."
Martin added that the reason for the exclusion of apartments from the bill was due to a lack of "capital", saying that the Government is "not in a position" to build the necessary homes required each year without the help of investors.
"People out there need houses, people need social houses, people need to be in a position to buy houses, and people need to be able to buy apartments, and we support families, and young people and people generally getting access and getting into a position to afford an apartment," Martin continued.
"But, there is an issue with the affordability around building apartments for sale in Dublin in particular, and the country does need capital to develop some of these markets. Captial has to be there. The Government will not be able to build the 40,000 houses that are required every year.
"The Government will not be in a position to provide all of that housing, and we will need capital to provide some of it, and particularly there will be apartments that are needed for rent.
"If we took some of the initials that the Deputy's are suggesting, we would reduce the number of apartments, which would put a further squeeze on the capacity of people to buy apartments. I don't get the logic from what is being proposed on the other side."