The Government has been attacked over its plans to exempt funds buying large numbers of homes from an additional 10% stamp duty charge if they plan to lease houses to local authorities.

Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall and Sinn Féin's leader Mary Lou McDonald called on the Taoiseach to drop the amendment to legislation, which will come before the Dáil tomorrow night.

The Government approved measures in May to force investment funds to pay a 10% stamp duty levy if they purchase ten or more houses. The measures did not apply to apartments

In the Dáil today, Ms Shortall accused Taoiseach Micheál Martin of preparing to help "vultures seeking to profiteer" and said "your Government can't be trusted".

The Taoiseach said Ms Shortall was distorting the Government's response to housing "by focusing on one amendment".

He said in certain circumstances leasing could help reduce homelessness, but it did not represent a "core policy platform of the Government".

He said the Government's forthcoming Housing for All policy focused on "building houses and owning houses."

Ms McDonald criticised the measure called on the Taoiseach to "rip up" these plans.

Mr Martin told the Sinn Féin leader that while he was opposed to large scale leasing of new homes to local authorities, he believed there were situations where such a practice was warranted.

He said that Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien had introduced a "suite of measures" to address the housing crisis.

Mr Martin again accused Ms McDonald of using the housing crisis for political advantage.

He told the deputy that her language was all about "votes" and "elections" and that Sinn Féin was using the crisis "to generate anger and division".

He said that he sees housing as "a major social problem that needs to be fixed" but Ms McDonald rejected those assertions.

She told the Taoiseach that "at a time of crisis where so many people struggle to put a roof over [their] head, they deserve much more than the kind of incoherent waffle that we're hearing from you as head of Government, it's really quite disgraceful".

Independent TD Catherine Connolly accused the Government of trying to "ram through" legislation on the matter.

Later, Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy has told the Dáil that public house-building is an investment that benefits all in society. He said that he "grew up in a council house - it was never a free house".

"Minister, you're providing free gaffs all right", Mr Carthy said to Minister O'Brien, and accused the Government of giving those free houses to the "vultures and cuckoo funds and the speculators".

This year, subsidies to private landlords will "top €1bn", he said, adding that this does not include "the tax breaks, the loop holes or the sweet heart deals".

Mr Carthy said the Sinn Féin bill before the House will give renters the break they need by banning rent increases for three years.

Minster O'Brien attached an amendment to delay the bill for 12 months, in order to allow Government measures linking rent increases to inflation in rental pressure zones to take effect.

It will be voted on tomorrow evening. Those measures will result in "far lower [rent] increases", the minister said.

He thanked Eoin Ó Broin for tabling the Sinn Féin bill, and said that he will be bringing further rent reform measures "in the sutumn".

A ban on rent on increase alone is a "temporary fix" that could further reduce supply, Minister O'Brien warned.

He said a balance is needed between controlling rent increases and "keeping ordinary landlords in the system".