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Figures from the Department of Housing show that between January and June this year, just 19 local authority-backed mortgages were drawn down in the high-demand areas of Dublin, Cork and Galway.
There are major concerns the upper loan limit is not sufficient to secure a property in city areas. In nine council areas - including Cork city, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown and Galway city - not one mortgage offer has been taken up.
The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is a low-interest, Government-backed mortgage for first-time buyers, launched last February. The maximum amount which can be borrowed is €320,000 in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow, and €250,000 in the rest of the country.
To date, some 1,317 loans have been approved - but figures on local authority loan draw-downs, which include the Rebuilding Ireland product, suggest uptake is low.
Overall countrywide, 109 local authority loans aimed at helping first-time buyers get on the property ladder have been drawn down in the first half of year.
Sinn Fein housing spokesman Eoin O Broin said the scheme needed to be radically overhauled, as just 8pc of approved loans appear to have been drawn down in the first half of the year.