Troy the Devious Demon, has Resigned, thanks to this Blog, and others; Troy should get out of Politics; Martin, the Lame Duck, must feel a right Pric. now? Then the Silence of the FF Sheep Backbenchers?

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Defiant Robert Troy quits over property interests row but insists: ‘I won’t apologise for being a landlord’

25th August 2022

Robert Troy has dramatically resigned as a minister of state, but struck a tone of defiance as he insisted he would not apologise for being a landlord, following 10 days of controversy over his undeclared property interests.

In a resignation statement, Mr Troy accepted he had made mistakes – but also attacked the media and the opposition, saying the narrative “that landlords are villains is simply wrong”.

The Fianna Fáil TD insisted his failure to declare several property interests and payments from state housing schemes were “genuine errors and human errors and not intentional”. He regretted distracting from the coalition’s work on housing, but insisted: “I have not tried to conceal anything. My biggest offence is my lack of due diligence.”

Mr Troy’s resignation was not sought by the Taoiseach, who accepted it “with regret”.

But the Longford-Westmeath TD’s departure was described as “appropriate” by the Green Party just hours after its leader Eamon Ryan called for two inquiries, including an unprecedented Dáil committee probe, into Mr Troy’s property and business affairs.

“It is easy to make an error but when a number of mistakes are made it becomes a much more serious issue,” the Green Party said last night.

Mr Troy said he was still willing to cooperate with any inquiries. Coalition TDs had become privately furious over Mr Troy’s handling of the matter and as tensions mounted, Green leader Mr Ryan told RTÉ at lunchtime that Mr Troy had made “significant errors in the (Dáil) declaration” that could “undermine confidence in the political system”.

The intervention was significant. Although Micheál Martin and the Tánaiste yesterday afternoon publicly reiterated their backing for Mr Troy, he resigned just hours later.

In his late-night statement, Mr Troy said: “I personally will not apologise for being a landlord. I bought my first house at the age of 20 as I went straight into a job after school, so I was in a position to purchase my first property then. I am not a person of privilege and I have not been brought up with a silver spoon in my mouth, I have worked for all I have.”

Leo Varadkar then paid warm tribute to Mr Troy, claiming he was “one of the hardest working and most dedicated” junior ministers with whom he had shared a department and said he had left a “lasting legacy” in the Department of Enterprise.

It is understood Mr Troy contacted the Taoiseach yesterday evening to inform him he was resigning as a junior minister, having spoken with his wife. Mr Martin did not seek Mr Troy’s resignation, but the minister told the Fianna Fáil leader he did not want the ongoing controversy to be a distraction for Government. Mr Martin, who is due to step down as Taoiseach in just under four months, is to appoint Mr Troy’s successor in the coming days.

Mr Troy had apologised on Tuesday for his failure to disclose on the Dáil register several of his property and business interests, which include ownership or part ownership of 11 properties, nine of which are rented and six of which he receives States payments for.

But it has now emerged that Mr Troy sought tax breaks for landlords who rent property to local authorities and used parliamentary time to repeatedly ask questions about the operation of a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme which currently pays him for five tenancies.

Separately, it emerged yesterday that Mr Troy used Dáil speaking time to call on the housing minister to support landlords seeking to evict tenants during the pandemic.

The Irish Independent had also revealed a property he co-owns in Rathdown Road in Phibsborough, Dublin, is being investigated by the city council for alleged unauthorised development.

Mr Troy claimed on the advice of the architect-engineer that no fire safety cert was needed and the council had also advised no planning was needed other than for a fire escape stairs for which retrospective permission was sought in 2016.

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