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Taoiseach: Co-living an option - 'it's not going to replace traditional houses and apartments'

Leo Varadkar and Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy faced opposition on their co-living stance in the Dáil today.

Image: Oireachtas.ie

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR weighed in on the topic of co-living in the Dáil today, saying it would only represent a very small percentage of the houses planned for the country.

He was questioned on the topic by Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, who criticised him and housing Minister Eoghan Murphy for their stance on co-living.

Minister Murphy has been heavily criticised of late over the planned co-living spaces, with critics saying they do not offer enough space to tenants and do not present a long-term solution to Ireland’s housing woes.

Last week Murphy said that co-living could be part of the solution to Ireland’s housing crisis.

He said co-living is designed for young, working professionals who are willing to make “certain sacrifices around space so they can live closer to work, at a more affordable rent”. 

Today, Varadkar told the Dáil that 20 – 25k homes will be built in Ireland under the government’s housing plans. He said these houses would be of all types.

“Of those 25k new homes… perhaps 1%, maybe four or five developments will be co-living… it’s not going to replace traditional houses and apartments but it is another option for some people,” he said.

He mentioned a property planned for Dun Laoghaire which has not yet gotten planning permission. The Taoiseach said that he anticipates An Bord Pleanála will refuse or significantly modify any development that’s not within the government’s housing guidelines.

The Bartra Capital Property Group has applied to An Bord Pleanála for permission to build a five-floor building on Eblana Avenue in Dun Laoghaire. If approved the plans would see the demolition of all existing buildings on the 2,629 square metre site and the construction of a 6,501 square metre building with 208 “single occupancy bedspaces”.

Sources within government have already questioned whether such a development would get the green light. 

McDonald said that co-living is a “glamorised form of tenement living”, and went on to take aim at the government’s housing policy. She said there is “no support for this sort of proposition” and that the government’s plans for tackling the housing crisis have failed. 

In response, the Taoiseach told McDonald that she was being “dishonest” and “disingenuous” by taking Minister Murphy’s comments on co-living and applying them to a Dun Laoghaire project that has not to date been given planning approval. 

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