(Updates after opposition agrees to support government bill)
DUBLIN Dec 15 Ireland's minority government
secured opposition backing for residential rent controls on
Thursday after accepting a demand to immediately consider
expanding the scheme beyond the country's two largest cities.
Though Ireland was left with a surplus of houses after a
2008 property crash, supply has since failed to come anywhere
close to matching demand in a fast-recovering economy,
catapulting rents back above their peak in the "Celtic Tiger"
The bill will impose temporary controls to limit annual
increases to 4 percent for three years in Ireland's two largest
cities, with other areas to be considered immediately, Housing
Minister Simon Coveney told parliament.
The opposition Fianna Fail party had initially refused to
support the proposal by Coveney's Fine Gael party in one of the
most public disputes between the two parties since a deal to
form a minority government in April.
As the Fine Gael minority government does not have enough
seats in parliament to pass laws on its own, it needs Fianna
Fail to abstain.
"I am pleased that for the first time in the history of the
state, is now in a position to introduce rent
certainty measures that will protect tenants," Fianna Fail
housing spokesman Barry Cowen said in a statement.
The bill is due to be passed in parliament on Friday, the
last day the lower house is scheduled to sit before the
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin and Conor Humphries; Editing by