Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Clare Cllr. Cathal Crowe has warned that a failure by the Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government to act on concerns around the monitoring of the Rebuilding Ireland home loan uptake as far back as September 2018 could result in people in Clare missing out on buying their own home.
New information released to Fianna Fáil through Freedom of Information reveals the Housing Finance Agency, which funds the scheme, raised concerns with the Department of Housing directly about the monitoring of the scheme, as it was unaware of the level of lending by local authorities at that time.
Thirty three applications for the scheme were lodged in Co. Clare, seven were approved by the Housing Agency and 15 were approved by the local authority. So far, only three loans have been issued.
Cllr. Crowe commented, “The handling of this homeloan scheme has been nothing short of haphazard. The FOI correspondence clearly reveals that there were serious concerns around the monitoring of the scheme as far back as September 2018. It was more than six months later before these doubts were made public.
“The fact that the Minister was forced to enter into emergency talks with the Department of Finance to secure new funding for the scheme months after the problem was first flagged highlights the Department’s failure to effectively monitor and forward plan for the scheme.
“The Department’s lack of action has now resulted in doubts over the future of the scheme, and in turn is leaving individuals and families in Clare unsure if they’ll be able to secure a home.
“There is now huge uncertainty within the local authorities and among people who have been approved for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan about what happens next.
“This scheme was set up to help people who are falling between the cracks – they are not earning enough to qualify for a mortgage with a bank but they are earning more than the social housing limits allow. The government has now plunged them into another limbo and despite being approved for a loan, there may be no funding left.
“We need much better information, monitoring and basic forward planning to give buyers certainty into the future. The Department should green light a new round of funding and put in place a better system to monitor the scheme and prevent any future crisis”, concluded Cllr. Crowe.