Friday Feedback

New Electricity Levy on household bills: Is it fair?

New Electricity Levy on household bills: Is it fair?

New Electricity Levy on household bills: is it fair?An electricity levy that was previously suspended in 2007 has been revived and will now be imposed on all electricity customers come this October. The new levy will see an increase in electricity prices of up to 5% and plans to raise €156 million in order to improve the security of energy supply and for the development of renewable energy.

Leo Varadkar, the Fine Gael spokesman on energy said “Consumers and businesses are going to have to pay the bill for Eamon Ryan’s green energy revolution and his unwillingness to squeeze the ESB.” The Labour Party described the increase as…

Sale price database: Will it provide much needed transparency?

Sale price database: Will it provide much needed transparency?

Sale price database: Will it provide much needed transparency?Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern announced earlier this week the long awaited initiation of a property sale price database that will be used to monitor market trends, house prices and ultimately create much-needed transparency in the property market. “I am very aware of the need for reliable and up-to-date data on house prices and other property,” he said.

Although the news has been welcomed by many organisations and agents who say the planned database would be of benefit to individual buyers and sellers as well as to agents and would provide an accurate picture of the market, the news has been met with mixed feelings by…

300,000 homes are currently unoccupied: Why are we still building?

300,000 homes are currently unoccupied: Why are we still building?

More than 300,000 homes are currently unoccupied: Why are we still building? “Ireland is awash with buildings that few people either can afford or want to purchase,” states a new report published by The National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis (Nirsa).

Based at NUI Maynooth, Prof Rob Kitchin the Director of the State-funded academic institution said that a post-mortem is needed into the Government’s failure to control the property bubble… “An independent inquiry is needed to investigate all aspects of the planning system and its operation within and across different agencies and at all scales in Ireland including charges of localism, cronyism and clientelism,”… “It would be foolhardy to carry out a banking inquiry without also looking into planning mistakes” he said.

Findings of the report include:

The Irish Planning Permission Process: Makes no logical sense?

The Irish Planning Permission Process: Makes no logical sense?

The Irish Planning Permission Process: Makes no logical sense? During the week Mr. Justice Edwards ruled, with ‘very great regret’ against a couple in County Meath and agreed that the local County Council were entitled to a demolition order for their two-storey home, which was built without planning permission.

Their house, which they have lived in since December 2006, is 6,229sq.ft house; more than twice the size of a previous planning application submitted by the couple for which permission was refused. The couple, who have three children, had been refused planning permission for a number of different sites and gave a sworn statement that they had become ‘totally frustrated’ with the planning process and went ahead with the building of the property.

Should support be provided for those with mortgage arrears?

Should support be provided for those with mortgage arrears?

Should support be provided for those with mortgage arrearsAfter a 2-week visit to Ireland last month, the IMF released a report yesterday commending the measures the Irish Government took to deal with its financial crisis. The report also endorsed plans to help struggling homeowners burdened with mortgage difficulties as a result of the financial crisis by putting in place “narrowly-targeted support measures for vulnerable homeowners”.

Most recent figures show that 1 in every 25 or some 32,000 residential mortgage holders in the state have not paid their mortgage for three months or more. Under the new recommendations (which are to be made next week) lenders will have to collaborate with hard pressed mortgage holders and offer them one or a combination of the following;

Quick fire property sales: Are they value for money?

Quick fire property sales: Are they value for money?

Quick fire property sales: Are they value for money?Receivership sales are becoming more common as the banks try to sell off the surplus of houses and apartment schemes left over by the Tiger.

Last week a quick fire sale of apartments in Carrickmines, one of the large Dublin developments, saw 89 units up for grabs with only 4 left unsold by Monday evening. The sale of these properties would have been eyed closely by other receivership companies planning to sell stock in the coming months.

While low prices may attract buyers to quick-fire property sales do they actually offer real value for money?

Should the taxpayer provide support for struggling borrowers?

Should the taxpayer provide support for struggling borrowers?

Mortgage Arrears: Should the taxpayer provide support for struggling borrowers?“Mortgage arrears may just be the biggest legacy issue from the financial crisis” commented Mr. Elderfield (Head of Financial Regulation at the Central Bank) at a packed gathering in the RDS during the week.

One of the main talking points of the meeting was on how to provide support for struggling borrowers. Fine Gael social and family affairs spokeswoman Olwyn Enright said there was a clear need to help those who genuinely cannot pay their mortgage. Congress president Jack O’Connor added; “It is absolutely inconceivable that we are able to pour billions into the black hole of the Anglo Irish Bank without any prospect of a cent in return, while at the same time ordinary citizens who are doing their best to put a roof over their families are being crucified and left helpless as a result of the activities of speculators and parasites…”

Empty houses: Should they be given to those in need?

Empty houses: Should they be given to those in need?

 Empty houses: Should they be given to those in need?According to the annual report released by Homeless agency Focus Ireland this week, there are currently 5,000 people without accommodation in Ireland with a further 100,000 households waiting for local authority housing.

Following the publication of their report the charity has called on the Government to use empty houses left over from the boom to provide accommodation to those most in need. They asked how “thousands of homes were lying empty in every county when more people than ever before were living in inadequate, overcrowded, unsuitable and insecure shelter“.

Greek bailout: Slow our recovery and affect mortgage rates?

Greek bailout: Slow our recovery and affect mortgage rates?

Greek BailoutTaoiseach Brian Cowen will meet the euro zone heads of government in Brussels today to discuss the Greek bailout and Irelands €1.3 billion contribution to the IMF’S rescue plan for the Greek economy. Greece currently has the highest debt burden and the largest interest-rate bill of the euro countries.

Some economists have commented that the Greek bailout decision is not overly welcomed and could be the detriment of all euro countries, including Ireland. In order for Greece to get their act together over the next two years their bailout will have be accompanied by extremely harsh conditions;

Pages