'They didn't build last year, but are building now' - Alan Kelly defends social housing plan

The minister says it will take until 2020 to make "a massive impact" on figures

Alan Kelly, social housing, figures, new homes, Barry Cowen, local authorities, building

Enviroment Minister Alan Kelly speaking to the media in Dublin | Image: Rollingnews.ie

The Environment Minister Alan Kelly has defended his record on social housing.

He says 13,000 sets of keys were given out last year, and he hopes to have 17,000 next year.

Yesterday it was announced that €182m would be allocated to deliver an additional 1,000 social housing units.

But the opposition claims the numbers do not add up.

Fianna Fáil spokesman Barry Cowen said yesterday: "He throws figures out and he has nothing to substantiate them".

"His 13,000 is out, he is wrong, it is actually 11,000. And very few of them were built. Ten local authorities built no houses for the last 2.5 years. Is he proud of that?"

But Mr Kelly told Newstalk Lunchtime: "You can't miraculously create houses - we started a programme last year (and) we have 5,000 units being built as we speak across the country".

"The numbers obviously are low because of the fact that you need to plan them, you need to construct them".

Mr Kelly also claimed Mr Cowen was just trying "to make a political point".

"All local authorities are building homes...They are building - local authorities across the whole country are building".

"They didn't deliver units last year because they had to go get staff, they had to go through planning, they had to go through design, they had to start construction - that's all happening" he added.