In the Dáil recently, An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, suggested that people should turn to cryptocurrency markets in order to raise the money for the deposit required for a mortgage. Under current Central Bank rules, prospective homeowners must raise 20% of the purchase price themselves, for a deposit on their mortgage: Something that is increasingly difficult to do when rents are rising and wages are stagnating.

‘It has always been the case that a person must raise a deposit to buy a house’, Varadkar said in response to questions about a new government housing policy. ‘People do it in many different ways…. Some move abroad, others get money from their parents, or they move back home for a period in order to save. Others turn to cryptocurrencies, and take advantage of the rapid increases in value that this market offers.’ He explained how he ‘spoke to a young couple the other day, and they were able to raise enough for a deposit in one week by issuing their own cryptocurrency. By the time the house was bought, they had raised enough money to pay off the mortgage.’

The remarks drew criticism from Fianna Fáil spokesperson on housing, Barry Cowen, who said that they highlighted the Taoiseach’s ‘tech-savvy bias’. Cowen claimed ‘This is blatant tech elitism from the Taoiseach which highlights his complete disregard for the financial and technical abilities of the average voter. Not everyone can afford to develop their own cryptocurrency, nor does the average voter know how to. It’s a completely ludicrous proposal, and the voters won’t stand for it!’

Philip Mignon – Turbine Writer