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Dermot Bannon and minister for housing Darragh O’Brien attended the launch of a property development in Hollystown, Dublin Cillian Sherlock/PA

Dermot Bannon denies payment for featuring Government grants on Room To Improve

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien said he saw “no problem” with the grants being discussed on the property programme.

ARCHITECT DERMOT BANNON has denied receiving any payment from Government for mentioning their grants on his RTE property programme.

Discussion about a vacant property refurbishment grant featured heavily in a recent episode of Room To Improve.

It has been reported that Bannon and a producer on the Coco Productions show received a briefing from the Department of Housing about the grants.

The celebrity architect attended the launch of a property development with Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien on Friday.

Asked by reporters at the event if he or his company had received a subvention for featuring the grant in the programme, Bannon replied: “No.”

“I don’t actually understand why there will be any difficulty whatsoever of informing the public about what’s there to help them get a home,” he added.

Asked if he had any concerns about the controversy around the show featuring the grants, Mr O’Brien said: “Not at all.

“Sorry, these grants are working really well.

“I think to be fair, for any TV or radio show or any newspaper, it’s only right and proper that they do their research.

“7,500 families have applied for this grant. Over 4,000 have been approved – up to 70,000 euro.

“It’s about taking vacant homes back into use and derelict homes.

“It’s making a real difference and I absolutely see no problem with that. I don’t actually understand why there will be any difficulty whatsoever of informing the public about what’s there to help them get a home.”

When an allegation that Bannon was a recipient of a departmental briefing was mentioned in a follow-up question to the minister, the architect interjected: “Was I?”

While leaving the terrace where the questions took place, he added: “We’ve got a lot of house to get through and I will talk to you after this.”

However, after a series of speeches and a tour of the newly developed properties, Bannon refused to answer any further questions.

He then left the Wilkinsons Brook development in Hollystown.

Mr Bannon worked as a consultant on the project which is described as featuring more than 50 stylish, A-rated affordable homes.

The homes feature concealed car ports, communal courtyard gardens, upper floor terraces, heat pumps, solar panels and pre-wiring for electric vehicles .

RTE, Coco Productions and the Department of Housing have been contacted for comment.

Reporting from Cillian Sherlock, Press Association.

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