Following condemnation and complaint from Galway TDs - both opposition and Government - Galway has finally been included on the new new levy rebate scheme that could cut the prices of new homes by €10,000.
The recently announced development rebate scheme 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, to start in January, is that builders prove they have passed on savings to the buyers of the apartments or houses they build. In Galway, the average development charge for each housing unit is c€10,000.
Bizarrely, Galway was omitted from the scheme, a move described by Galway West TD Noel Grealish (Independent ) as "ridiculous" and by Dep Derek Nolan (Labour ) as "discriminatory".
“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," Dep Grealish said last night. Dep Nolan also voiced displeasure at Galway's exclusion, adding that "there is a severe lack of construction activity in Galway city that is causing real problems".
“Galway needs an estimated additional 2,300 housing units by 2018 in order to keep up with demand and prevent a greater crisis," Dep Nolan told the Dáil. "It is only right that it receives as much support as possible from the State in achieving this. Galway is not simply a rural town in the west. It is a regional capital which deserves to be treated like the major urban centre it is. It is the capital of the west and has the same problems in terms of housing and construction as Dublin and Cork."
As a result, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, announced that funding has been allocated to extend the development rebate scheme to Galway. Official details of how the scheme will apply here will be announced shortly.
"This level of discrimination against Galway was uncalled for," said Dep Nolan, "and I am glad that it has been reversed so quickly".