Housing Minister has power to act on Cuckoo Funds now

Senator Rebecca Moynihan
11 May 2021
  • Could issue guidelines under Section 28 of the Planning and Development Act

Labour Housing spokesperson Senator Rebecca Moynihan has highlighted the powers available to the Minister under the Planning and Development Act that would allow him to issue planning guidelines to restrict the sale of properties to cuckoo funds.

Senator Moynihan said:

“People can’t keep waiting for housing action. The Housing Minister still hasn’t given us a clear indication of what changes he intends to make to planning laws to protect new developments from cuckoo funds and no concrete proposals were taken to Cabinet today.

“The Housing Minister already has powers under planning law to act immediately to control the ability of cuckoo funds to snap up new housing developments. New laws and taxation measures will still be needed to address the problem fully, but legal advice provided to me shows that there are powers available to the Minister that he could use now.

“Under Section 28 of the Planning and Development Act (1C amended), the Minister can issues guidelines with specific planning policy requirements that planning authorities and An Bord Pleanala have to comply with. This was used by the last Fine Gael government to change the guidelines on building height. Under Section 29 of the same bill, he can also issue a policy directive.

“Once guidelines are issued, local authorities or the Board when granting planning permission can then impose a condition under Section 39, and this is enforced through Section 47.

“What this shows is that there are ample powers available to the Minister under the current law to issue a policy directive or guidelines to local authorities, requiring them to implement a policy that gives preference to home acquisition by owner occupiers.”

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