Cllr. Éilis Ryan (WP)

Cllr. Éilis Ryan

There has been negative reaction to a proposal announced today (Thursday 12th January) by government to consider the reintroduction of tax relief to those paying for private rented accommodation.

Speaking following an announcement by Minister for Housing, Simon Coveney, that the measure – phased out during the recession – might be introduced, Councillor Éilis Ryan (Workers’ Party, North Inner City), said: “Tax breaks like rent relief, first time buyers grants and mortgage interest relief all amount to the same thing – a direct subsidy from the government to landlords and property developers. “This allows both house prices and rents to continue to inflate – so landlords and developers continue to make profits – while reducing the cost to workers. It may seem like a short-term fix, but fundamentally it drains the states’ resources and does nothing to tackle the real crisis of unaffordability in our housing system.”

The councillor criticised the cost to the state of providing tax breaks to compensate workers for exorbitant rent and house prices, saying: “Rent and house prices are totally unaffordable for a majority of workers in Ireland. The solution to this is to build public housing – so developers and landlords can no longer blackmail workers into accepting bad deals.

“Instead of demanding that they reduce rents by introducing proper rent caps, the state is proposing stepping in to prop up these same landlord, so they can continue to make the same unjustifiable profits.”

Cllr. Ryan concluded: “It’s bad economics – and the sort of tax break that fuelled Ireland’s disastrous property bubble.”