JUNIOR Finance Minister Brian Hayes has rushed to the defence of developers saying they should no longer be treated as “social pariahs”.
In an apparent call to reinvigorate the property market, Minister Hayes suggested “a little mojo from developers” might be a good thing for the country.
He also hit out at the European Central Bank (ECB) for a lax approach, claiming it contributed to financial and banking problems in Ireland and elsewhere.
“The ECB had access to all the data on inter-bank capital flows in Europe and it sat on its hands while imbalances grew ever more dangerous,” the minister told the Chartered Accountants of Ireland.
“The financial and banking problems Ireland and other European countries are now experiencing are partly a consequence of financial deregulation which was actively encouraged by the European Union itself and partly a result of lax central bank regulation by member states and the ECB.”
Mr Hayes said the property market was an important segment of the economy and the Government’s desire was to see a “well functioning commercial and residential property market”.
“Despite the excesses and hubris of some developers we don’t see them as social pariahs suffering from some horrible disease. Indeed, a little mojo from some developers might be welcome.”
Explaining the comments afterwards, he said the country has to plan for a turnaround in the property market and developers “have to be part of the solution of how to get the construction industry back on its feet again”.
He said there was a pent-up demand for housing, particularly in the Dublin area, and if demand returned quickly there would have to be an adequate supply on the market.
He claimed the Government would not allow itself to be bullied or intimidated in its bailout dealings over the coming years and would “defend at all times” Ireland’s low corporation tax rate.
Mr Hayes insisted it was a matter for Ireland and that “solemn guarantees on taxation given by the EU during the Lisbon referendum will not be reneged on”.
He added: “The European Union doesn’t belong to Germany or France or to any of the other big countries of Europe. The future of Europe belongs to all Europeans.”
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