It is "ridiculous" to leave Galway out of a new levy rebate scheme that could cut the prices of new homes by €10,000, according to TD Noel Grealish, who said Galway's omission could cost the city and county in employment, as well as accommodation, terms.
Dep Grealish, an Independent TD for Galway West, is calling on the Government to include Galway in the scheme, which currently applies to only Dublin and Cork. Last week, the Government announced the new rebate scheme, which will see developers who build and sell houses at an affordable cost — under €300,000 in Dublin and €250,000 in Cork — by the end of 2017, have their local authority development charges refunded once the house is sold.
A condition of the scheme, due to start in January, is that builders must prove they have passed on the savings to the buyers of the apartments or houses they build. In Galway, the average development charge for each housing unit is in the region of €10,000.
“Why on earth would they think that such a measure is needed less in Galway, where there are hardly any new houses being built?” Dep Grealish said. “There really is no logic to this decision. People here are entitled have the price of a home cut by €10,000 the same as the other two cities."
He also warned that future investment in Galway by multi-nationals was already being threatened by a shortage of housing.
"Some multi-nationals in Galway are renting out rooms in houses for their employees so they have somewhere to live," said the Carnmore based TD. "There is a severe shortage of accommodation in the city especially, which is driving up the price of rents, and there is no sign of that problem abating when we have almost no new houses coming on stream.
“I have been contacted by a number of the multi-national companies in Galway concerned about this situation. A good supply of reasonably priced accommodation locally is one of the factors that these companies take into account when they are considering expanding existing operations, or setting up base in an area. If Galway cannot keep up with the demand for accommodation, it could lose out on the creation of new jobs."
Dep Grealish is expected to put down a Dáil motion on the matter and he is calling on his fellow Galway TDs to support his efforts to have Galway included on the scheme.