TDs and senators to question Housing Agency chair over comments on homelessness

Conor Skehan is set to appear before the Oireachtas Housing Committee this afternoon

TDs and senators to question Housing Agency chair over comments on homelessness

File photo. Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

The chairman of the Housing Agency will be grilled by TDs and senators this afternoon.

Conor Skehan is due to appear before the Oireachtas Housing Committee following a string of comments about homelessness.

Earlier this month, Mr Skehan faced widespread criticism following comments that some people living in emergency accommodation could be 'gaming the system' to get housing.

The housing boss suggested that some people could be declaring themselves homeless to skip the queue for the housing list.

A number of opposition parties also criticised the decision to reappoint Mr Skehan as chair of the agency until a suitable replacement is appointed. He had been due to leave the role at the end of 2017.

Sinn Fein's Eoin Ó Broin says the Oireachtas Housing Committee today wants to challenge his views.

Deputy Ó Broin explained: "There's no evidence to support such a thing. It caused real, real hurt among homeless families.

"We want to question him on that, tease it out with him - and I suppose challenge him on the reasons he said what he said, and hopefully convince him that such comments are deeply unhelpful and shouldn't be made in the future."

The Solidarity party, meanwhile, says Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy will also be questioned on the reappointment of Mr Skehan.

Minister Murphy has expressed skepticism over Mr Skehan's claims, saying he had no evidence in his department of people trying to game the system.