Tenants in council houses across the country are being given the opportunity to buy their homes at half the market value.

The government's Tenant Purchase Scheme, giving local authority tenants a once in a lifetime chance to buy out their homes, is billed as 'the sale of the century'. Under the scheme, local authority and council tenants can apply to buy out their homes. 

In County Tipperary council houses such as those in The Green in Fethard, are being offered to their tenants at half the market value. While the market worth is up to £12,000, the council tenants who live in them can buy them for £4,000. In a Clonmel estate, houses valued at £16,500 can be bought by their tenants for half that amount.

Housing Officer at South Tipperary County Council Jimmy Harney says that in the short term the council will lose the rental income, but over time, they will make great savings in maintenance.

Countrywide more than 30% of eligible local authority tenants have applied to buy out their homes and this could reach 40% when the offer ends on New Year’s Eve.

Many people erroneously believe they cannot afford to buy their homes because they are unemployed or on social welfare. Jimmy Harney says people who are unemployed or on social welfare should apply for the scheme because

The purchase repayments in some cases, they say, would be less than the weekly rent.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 20 December 1988. The reporter is Michael Ryan.