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Government must address ongoing ground rents fiasco says Sinn Féin TD

17 December, 2003


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Arthur Morgan T.D. has slammed what he has termed "the ground rents fiasco" following replies from the Department of Finance which show that the Government is paying ground rents on Arbor Hill, the National Library and on the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Kildare Street.

Deputy Morgan said

"I received a number of replies yesterday from the Minister of State at the Department of State Tom Parlon T.D. in relation to ground rents. The revelations that the State is paying ground rents on the National Library to the Duke of Leinster is astounding. 80 years after the establishment of the Free State this should be a cause of huge embarrassment to the Government, as should the fact that the State is also paying ground rents on historic Arbor Hill. It was also revealed that the State is paying ground rent on the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment, Kildare Street but Minister Parlon's reply did not reveal information in relation to who they were paying this ground rent to.

"The replies outlined the fact that this state will be paying ground rent on Arbor Hill and the National Library forever while the ground rents lease on the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment at 27 and 27 Kildare Street will run until 2174.

"It is absolutely outrageous that the Government is burying its head in the sand on this issue. We have been promised legislation to abolish ground rents by successive governments but nothing has been delivered. Those who are bearing the real brunt of this ongoing ground rents fiasco are those private home-owners who find that their ground rent leases are about to expire and that, legally, they are faced with the choice of buying out their ground rent lease - paying 1/8 of the value of their home to the ground rent landlord - or renewing the lease for a far higher rate than they had previously been paying. Given the escalation in house prices, people are faced with demands for huge sums from their ground rent landlords and this is causing severe hardship for many people.

"Legislation to abolish ground rents must be published immediately and its quick passage through the Dáil must be facilitated." ENDS

(Text of Questions follow)

* To ask the Minister for Finance if the State pays ground rent on the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Kildare Street; if so, the amount per year; and when that ground rent lease is due to expire. - Arthur Morgan TD

The Commissioners of Public Works pay ground rent on the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment Building at 23/28 Kildare Street as follows:

For 24 Kildare Street: E7.29 per annum

For 25 Kildare Street: E7.62 per annum

For 26 Kildare Street: E47.04 per annum

For 27 Kildare Street: E18.20 per annum

The ground rent leases on Numbers 26 and 27 Kildare Street expire on 28th September 2174. The information on the tenure of the ground rent leases for Numbers 24 and 25 Kildare Street is not readily available but will be supplied to the Deputy as soon as it comes to hand.

* To ask the Minister for Finance if the State pays ground rent on the National Library, Kildare Street; if so, the amount per year; and when that ground rent lease is due to expire. -Arthur Morgan TD

The Commissioners of Public Works pay ground rent of E14.44 per annum to the Duke of Leinster for the National Library premises in Kildare Street, Dublin 2. This payment will be made annually forever.

* To ask the Minister for Finance if the State pays ground rent on Arbor Hill; if so, the amount per year; and when that ground rent lease is due to expire. - Arthur Morgan TD

The State is liable for two fee farm rents of E139.99 and E38.09 per year in respect of Arbour Hill. These rents are payable forever.

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