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Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 3°C
Government of Ireland Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien speaking at today's Housing for All progress report launch
housing for all

Government criticised for giving housing update during Tubridy hearings

Sinn Féin’s Eoin Ó’Broin has said the timing was “a cynical attempt to bury what is pretty bad news”.

Members of the opposition have criticised the government for launching a progress report on its housing policy at the same time that Ryan Tubridy was being quizzed by the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee earlier today. 

At midday today, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar gave an update on the government’s Housing for All policy alongside Táiniste Micheál Martin, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan and Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien.

However members of the opposition have criticised it for being scant on details.

Taking to Twitter, Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson Eoin Ó’Broin questioned the timing of the report’s release and quipped that perhaps it was so “people won’t notice the lack of actual progress on social & affordable housing, tenant-in-situ purchases & homelessness.”

A Government spokesperson hit back against the criticism this evening, stating that such a comment “is pure opportunistic spin from Sinn Féin”, stating that they are “trying to make bad news out of good news”. 

 “The decision to hold the press conference at the same time as Ryan Tubridy and his agent were appearing before the Public Accounts Committee was a cynical attempt to bury what is pretty bad news,” Eoin Ó’ Broin said in a statement. 

Disputing this, a spokesperson for Darragh O’Brien said that the report launch had been scheduled before the time was set for Ryan Tubridy, and his agent Noel Kelly, to appear before the Public Accounts Committee.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar noted the government’s “progress” on housing, but according to the Social Democrats today’s update showed that the government is “in denial about the scale of the crisis”.

Social Democrats deputy leader and spokesperson for housing Cian O’Callaghan said: “This so-called progress report does not shed any light on how this government will get to grips with the crisis – rather, it presents 53 pages of rehashed information and political spin.”

O’Callaghan added that there are some “glaring” omissions from the report. 

“For instance, it contains no affordable housing delivery figures for the first half of 2023 and fails to mention that last year’s affordable housing targets were missed by some distance. It is also disappointing, but not surprising, that 13 actions in the Housing for All plan have been delayed,” he said.

O’Callaghan continued: “The scale of delivery under this Minister for Housing has been pathetic.”

He noted that only 323 affordable purchase homes and 684 cost rental homes were completed last year, far below the government’s target of 4,100.

“Housing is the most pressing issue facing people in this country. Rents continue to skyrocket, house prices are past their celtic tiger peak, hundreds of thousands of young adults are stuck living at home and homelessness is at its highest level in the history of the state,” O’Callaghan said.

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