Robert Troy resigns amid property declarations controversy

Robert Troy resigns amid property declarations controversy

MINISTER OF State Robert Troy has resigned over questions relating to his property interests which have been surfacing over the past two weeks.

Troy had failed to declare all details of his properties to the Dáil register of members' interests, which prompted him to make numerous amendments to declarations covering various years.

It has since emerged that Troy owns, or part owns, six properties.

One of the properties was sublet into three units and another into four.

In total, he has 11 units, nine of which are being rented out.

Oireachtas ethics require a member of public office to declare contracts that they were a part of, directly or indirectly, if the value of the goods or services exceeded €6,500.

At different times since 2008, Troy failed to declare different properties, saying that he did not think he had to register them as he did not own them at the end of the year.

"That property was declared on my members’ interests between 2011 and 2017," he said about one. "Due to an error on my behalf, I left it off in 2018 as I sold the property during that year and I am in the process of amending that," he told RTÉ on Thursday last week.

Speaking again on Tuesday he said: "I didn’t give the process the due diligence that it deserved."

"I hold my hand up, I admit that. I thought I had got it right, but I didn’t."

Mr Troy rejected any allegation he had tried to conceal his property interests.

"I did not try to conceal anything. There was an error in my interpretation," he said.

Robert Troy last night resigned from government, saying that the last 10 days have been “extremely difficult”, and thanked Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and colleagues who had shown their support.

“I am sorry that it has caused so much upheaval and has distracted from the serious issues at hand in this country and the good work this government is doing, and my party is doing, particularly in housing.

“I do however want to stress they were genuine errors and human errors and were not intentional. I hold myself to a high standard and that is the reason I have taken this decision of my own counsel.”

He added: “I would like to reaffirm that I am more than happy to answer any questions SIPO or the RTB have and will of course give a full account in the Dáil if required once it returns.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Taoiseach said it is “with regret that the Taoiseach has accepted the resignation of Minister of State Robert Troy”.

“Robert has been a very committed, hardworking and efficient Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment, in particular working with SMEs and preparing legislative reforms for the PIAB,” the statement said.

“The Minister clearly acknowledged that he made serious errors in relation to his declarations to the Register of Members’ Interests, and he sincerely apologised for this.

“Since his election to Dáil Éireann, his commitment to his constituents and dedication to his work has been beyond question.”

In a follow up statement, Troy said that vilifying landlords is not the correct way for the public to view them.

"While I accept my mistakes, I would like to state that the narrative being put forward by some media and some in the opposition that landlords are villains is imply wrong.

"I am acutely aware of the sensitivities of the housing situation in Ireland, and on a continuous basis work to assist constituents address their housing needs - but vilifying landlords is not the answer, and it will not help the problem.

"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."