"You're both to blame." Pearse Doherty tears into Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael over housing crisis
"You're both to blame... You need to now grow up. You need to take responsibility for the actions that you've done."
Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty has accused Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael of being "both to blame" for Ireland's housing crisis.
Speaking in the Dáil, Doherty's comments came after international investment fund Round Hill Capital bought up most of a newly built estate in Maynooth in Kildare, as well as an entire estate of newly built family houses in Hollystown, Dublin.
Describing how first-time house buyers were being locked out of the market, Doherty told Tánaiste Leo Varadkar: "Your Government's response to this over the past few days would suggest that this is something new... but let me tell you Tánaiste, this has been happening for years and well you know it.
"Not only have you facilitated this Tánaiste in your party's policies, you have actually encouraged it, incentivised it, through the taxation structure that these funds enjoy.
"Your party gave them the tax advantage... Your party designed it, with the support of Fianna Fáil.
"You've created this situation where these international investment funds are snapping up family homes and locking first time buyers out of the market.
"Tánaiste, you created this system, you supported this system, you cheerleaded this system, you rolled out the red carpet for these funds to come in."
He added: "Reports this morning of the squabbles in your parliamentary parties between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil... is simply not good enough.
"Tánaiste, you're both to blame but you need to now grow up. You need to take responsibility for the actions that you've done and you now need to undo the damage that you have caused."
In response, Varadkar said he and the Government "strongly believe" in the concept of home ownership, citing the introduction of policies like the Help to Buy Grant and the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan.
He said: "What happened in Maynooth and what happened in Hollystown - in my own constituency - is not consistent with that policy."
Varadkar stated that proposals are being developed for a solution to the problem, which he said must resolve the issue while also not having "unintended consequences".
On the topic of investment funds, Varadkar said "generally" he believes they have a role to play, explaining that there are housing developments in Dublin that would not have been built without finance provided by them.
He added that in terms of investment funds, it was important "to get the balance right".