‘Embarrassed’ landlord minister Robert Troy sorry over housing gaffes as he reveals he owns 11 properties
- 16:40, 23 Aug 2022
- Updated: 18:15, 23 Aug 2022
RED-FACED landlord Minister Robert Troy has issued a grovelling apology to the public for a series of mistakes which resulted in him failing to properly declare a number of his properties.
The underfire Fianna Fail TD revealed that he owns or part owns 11 properties – nine of which he rents out – and told how he is receiving the State backed Housing Assistant Payment for five of his tenants.
The blundering business Minister of State denied he was trying to conceal properties from the official record and declared he was an open book and has nothing to hide.
Robert Troy’s housing gaffes have landed the Government in hot water as Taoiseach Micheal Martin continues to stick by the embattled Junior Minister while politicians – including some from within Fianna Fail – demand answers.
Westmeath TD Troy came under fire earlier this month when online publication The Ditch exposed a number of properties owned by the Minister which were not declared on the Dail’s register of members’ interests.
One of the properties includes a house he bought from a Fianna Fail councillor for €82,500 before selling it to Westmeath County Council for almost double that price after carrying out significant repairs.
Minister Troy said he made €36,000 from repairing and flipping this property in just three months.
He has since made huge amendments to the Oireachtas register of members’ interest going back over the last 10 years to include all the properties he owned and rented out.
In a bid to clear the air with an interview on RTE, Minister Troy said the whole controversy centres around one major mistake he made in believing that he only had to declare his property and business interests that he held on December 31st of each year.
This is despite the register that the Minister signed stating that all interests must be declared that are held at any time between January 1st and December 31st of each year.
Troy admitted that he didn’t give the register “the due diligence that it deserves” as he confessed: “I got it wrong and I can assure you that it is not something I will do again.”
The Minister issued a grovelling apology to TDs, his constituents and the public as he said: “I do hold my hand up. I did make a very serious mistake.
“And to be frank, I am embarrassed that I got it so wrong and that I needed such a comprehensive amendment to the statement of members’ interests.”
The Minister claimed he has never tried to conceal any of his business or property interests and claimed that when his mistake was highlighted he immediately went about rectifying it.
He said: “I take full responsibility for my errors. As soon as they were identified to me I amended my returns.
“I have said to the Taoiseach and the Tanaiste that I am very happy to address the Dail and answer any questions on this issue. I am happy to meet SIPO. I’m happy to meet the RTB.
“I’m an open book. I have absolutely nothing to hide. I never tried to conceal anything and I never tried to use my public position for private gain.
“But I do believe the forum to deal with this is either in the Dail, with the RTB or with SIPO. I don’t believe the forum is for journalists calling to my wife’s parents home or to the homes of my tenants currently.”
The Minister refused to answer questions from media outside RTE.
In his RTE interview, Troy revealed that he has had two properties on the Rental Agreement Scheme – one of which he has a 50 per cent stake in and earned €780 per month for a two bed townhouse in Mullingar.
The Fianna Fail TD previously campaigned in the Dail in 2014 for increased funding for this RAS scheme but the Minister said this had nothing to do with his interests and was part of a wider contribution on housing issues.
He also revealed that he has five properties which he is receiving the State funded Housing Assistant Payments for his tenants.
The Minister faced questions over why one of his rental properties was never registered with the Residential Tenancies Board.
He claimed that the property was being rented out by a leasing company who told him that they would look after the RTB registration but never did. This has since been rectified.
Minister Troy also completely refuted claims that he demanded one of his tenants pay him in cash. He said that the tenant himself has asked to pay in cash because he had an issue with a previous landlord and that all of these earnings were properly declared and taxes paid.
Minister Troy also claimed that all of his properties are compliant with all fire regulations.
Sinn Fein have warned that Robert Troy’s position will no longer be tenable unless he can provide proof that all his properties are fully compliant with the law and evidence that he paid tax on cash payments he received from a tenant.
Sinn Fein’s Padraig MacLochlainn told the Irish Sun that there are three main areas of concern in the controversy surrounding Robert Troy’s property interests that need to be cleared up urgently.
He said: “There has been a drip feed of revelations almost on a daily basis. What we need now is full disclosure and everything laid out on the table.
“We need to see evidence that he has met all his responsibilities. He has admitted he received cash payments from a tenant. We need to see proof of how much was received and evidence that the tax was properly paid on that.
“He said he has 11 properties and nine of them are rented out. We need to see proof that all those properties are properly registered with the RTB and have been for the duration that they have been rented out.
“Finally, he should publish all of the planning permissions and fire certs for all his properties to prove they are up to standard.
“These need to be provided urgently and if he cannot do that then his position is no longer tenable.”