Defiant Robert Troy quits over real estate interests but insists, “I’m not going to apologize for being a landlord.”

Robert Troy has dramatically resigned as Minister of State but struck a defiant tone as he insisted he would not apologize for being a landlord after 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 scoundrels is just plain wrong”.

The Fianna Fáil TD insisted his failure to declare multiple property interests and payments from state housing programs were “real mistakes and human errors and not intentional”. He regretted having distracted from the coalition’s work on housing, but emphasized: “I have not tried to hide anything. My greatest offense is my lack of diligence.”

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

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

“It’s easy to make a mistake, but when a series of mistakes are made, it becomes a much more serious problem,” the Green Party said last night.

Mr Troy said he remains ready to cooperate on any queries. Coalition TDs had privately grown furious at Mr Troy’s handling of the matter and as tensions mounted, Green Party leader Mr Ryan told RTÉ over lunch that Mr Troy made “significant errors in the (Dáil) statement”. that “could undermine confidence in the political system”.

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

In his late night statement, Mr Troy said: “I personally will not apologize for being a landlord. I bought my first house when I was 20 because I went straight to work after school and was therefore able to buy my first property back then. I’m not a privileged person and I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth, I worked for everything I have.”

Leo Varadkar then paid a warm tribute to Mr Troy, claiming he was “one of the hardest-working and most dedicated” junior ministers he has shared a department with and saying he left an “enduring legacy” at the Department for Enterprise.

It is understood Mr Troy contacted the Taoiseach last night to say he was stepping down as junior minister after speaking to his wife. Mr Martin did not call for Mr Troy’s resignation, but the minister told Fianna Fáil leader he did not want the ongoing controversy to distract the government. Mr. Martin, who is due to step down as Taoiseach in just under four months, is due to appoint Mr. Troy’s successor in the coming days.

Mr Troy had apologized on Tuesday for failing to disclose several of his property and business interests in the Dáil register, including ownership or fractional ownership of 11 properties, nine of which are rented and six receiving government payments.

But it has now emerged that Mr Troy was seeking tax breaks for landlords who lease properties to local authorities and used parliamentary time to repeatedly ask questions about the workings of a housing benefit payment (HAP) scheme, which he currently has for five Leases paid.

Separately, it emerged yesterday that Mr Troy used Dáil’s speaking time to urge the housing secretary to support landlords trying to evict tenants during the pandemic.

That Irish Independent had also unveiled a property he owns on Rathdown Road in Phibsborough, Dublin, which is under investigation by City Council for alleged unauthorized development.

Mr Troy, acting on the advice of the architect-engineer, claimed that no fire certificate was required and the council had also indicated that no design was required, except for a fire escape, for which retrospective approval was sought in 2016. Defiant Robert Troy quits over real estate interests but insists, “I’m not going to apologize for being a landlord.”

Fry Electronics Team

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