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dublin booked up

Taoiseach says Oireachtas members sleeping in cars due to hotel shortage isn't 'widespread'

A Fianna Fáil senator said that he has had to sleep in his car twice and that other politicians have the same problem.

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN has described reports of a member of the Oireachtas having to sleep in his car as not being a “widespread phenomenon”. 

An unnamed politician from the west of Ireland told the Irish Daily Mail that he had slept in his car because he was unable to find suitable accommodation in the city.

Speaking today in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork, Martin said that sleeping in cars was not common practice amongst politicians.

“I don’t think it is a widespread phenomenon, to be frank about it. But clearly tourism has rebounded as we saw from figures this morning – so a very significant recovery in terms of the tourism sector.

“There is always pressure in a city like Dublin in terms of accommodation but I don’t think there are too many TDs sleeping in cars.

“But there are pressures on accommodation, of that there is no doubt.”

Fianna Fáil Senator Eugene Murphy, spoke about the issue on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne, but clarified that he was not the politician in question from the Irish Daily Mail’s story.

Murphy, who lives in Roscommon, said that he was forced to sleep in his car on two occasions recently because he couldn’t locate a hotel room for under €200.

The accommodation allowance for politicians is €120 a night.

“I can’t sit and whinge about this because there are people out there with far greater difficulty in terms of housing,” Murphy said this evening.

The senator said that he often doesn’t finish work in Dublin until 10pm and doesn’t return to Roscommon until after midnight, before waking up to commute back to Dublin at 4am.

“You end up with three and a half hours of sleep and the next day you can’t function because of lack of sleep”, he said.

“When I hear of anyone out there who has to sleep in a car because of housing difficulties it always strikes me as appalling.”

Murphy added that although he may have been able to find a hotel for more than €200 he would refuse to spend that much as a “point of principle”.

He also told Byrne that he has never slept in his car inside the gates of Leinster House but he knows of one politician who has.

“I did think about sleeping in my office one time but I felt that wouldn’t be a proper thing to do,” he continued.

The senator added that he was aware of a small number of politicians facing the same problem but considered it a relatively minor issue.

“I wouldn’t even mention this to the minister or the department,” he said.

“I mean, it’s up to us to sort this out ourselves. We are legislators and we have to deal with housing legislation and I don’t think it would look very well to start whinging and complaining.”

Olivia Kelleher
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