Cuckoo Funds measures 'limited and minimalist' - Congress

19 May 2021

housing

The Executive Council of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions has described new measures to tackle the activities of Cuckoo Funds in the housing market as "limited and minimalist and unlikely to significantly affect the activities of such funds."  

Following a meeting of the Congress Executive Council, Congress General Secretary Patricia King said: "The minimalist measures announced by the Government to deal with the impact of Cuckoo Funds are unlikely to significantly deter or limit such activities and will do nothing to ensure delivery of affordable housing for all.  "The measures announced by government mean that the speculative funds will remain largely free to continue with 'business as usual' and are likely to focus their attention on the apartment sector, where financial muscle gives them the capacity to effectively set rental prices well above what is affordable for the majority of working people and families.  

"The overriding concern of the Government appears to lie with ensuring the continued presence of such funds, even if this means the continued and ongoing dysfunction of our housing market. 

"Indeed, it is this very dysfunction that makes Ireland so attractive for speculative funds and interests. Not only is the State prepared to forgo tax from the funds, but the absence of affordable housing has resulted in local authorities entering into expensive, long-term rental and leasing deals with such funds in order to make up that shortfall. 

"Ireland's housing market is attractive for Cuckoo Funds and other speculative interests only because it is entirely dysfunctional. Successive governments have allowed housing to become highly financialised and removed from its true social purpose. 

To address that dysfunction we need a major state intervention to deliver decent, affordable homes, cost rental and public housing at scale to ensure housing for all.

"Our housing market will become less lucrative for speculative interests only when we make it more affordable and secure for people. We can do this by delivering on genuinely affordable homes to buy or rent, ensuring greater security for tenants by ending 'no-fault evictions' and introducing a new, legal right to housing."