The Government has been accused of being “on the side of cuckoo funds” rather than struggling families who are trying to find homes.
Opposition parties criticised Fine Gael over the rise in professional landlords in this country, claiming the situation is taking thousands of potential homes out of the reach of people in need.
During Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil, Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary referenced revelations that 295 homes in Leopardstown, Co Dublin, have been bought by an “institutional investor”.
Mr Calleary claimed “up to 3,000 homes” have been purchased by professional landlords in the past year alone and said hard-working families are effectively being locked out of the property market.
“It’s clear Fine Gael is on the side of the cuckoo funds on this one,” he said.
Mr Calleary said Government-promoted tax incentives encouraging foreign firms to invest in Ireland’s property market are causing the problem.
“Is it not time to shout stop and review these tax incentives?” he asked.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney said Mr Calleary was “mixing up” a number of issues.
He said the Government “believes in house ownership and we want everybody to own their own home”.
Mr Coveney said just 5% of landlords in Ireland own more than 100 homes, while 70% own just one property.
He said investment is crucial to helping Ireland’s housing market and he argued that cuckoo funds and vulture funds are needed to make more homes available.
Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said the Government is “pretending it doesn’t matter” when foreign funds evict people.
“It’s time to clip the wings of the vultures,” he said.
Labour leader Brendan Howlin said the Government must act quickly to address the spiralling levels of child homelessness in this country.
Mr Howlin pointed to recent figures showing that more than 3,000 children are now living in emergency accommodation, saying that the situation has become modern Ireland’s answer to “the poor house”.