Murphy accuses Fianna Fáil of "trying to undermine the confidence and supply agreement"

The Housing Minister says Fianna Fáil has 'nothing else to contribute' but personal attacks

Murphy accuses Fianna Fáil of "trying to undermine the confidence and supply agreement"

The Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy speaking on the steps of Government Buildings in Dublin, 17-04-2018. Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews

The Minister for Housing has accused Fianna Fáil of "trying to undermine the confidence and supply agreement."

Eoghan Murphy was speaking after the newly-installed Fianna Fáil spokesperson on housing Darragh O'Brien said he was 'too elitist and arrogant to fix the housing crisis.'

Deputy O'Brien said the backgrounds of both Minister Murphy and the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar prevented them from sympathising with ordinary people.

Minister Murphy said his opposite number in Fianna Fáil was resorting to personalised attacks because he has 'nothing else to contribute' to the homelessness and housing debate.

"Fianna Fáil's only responsibility and their only experience in housing is to break things," he said.

"To break our housing sector, to break our construction industry and to break our economy.

"And now because they have nowhere else to go they are making personal attacks.

"So I am going to continue to be focused on solutions; implementing the solutions of Rebuilding Ireland - solutions which they support."

Fianna Fáil has been propping up the minority-led Fine Gael Government since mid-2016 under the confidence and supply arrangement between the two parties.

Minister Murphy said the country "needs stability" in order to tackle the crisis.

"What is happening here is very obvious," he said. "Fianna Fáil are trying to undermine the confidence and supply agreement."

"If they were serious about the housing crisis, why would the first move of their new housing spokesman be a personal attack on me?"

Murphy said the Government has a "responsibility to fix this crisis" and admitted it will only be solved by "building thousands more homes."

He insisted that this happening at the moment, noting that "the increase in planning permissions points to that as well as commencement notices."

Housing crisis

A number of experts have questioned the Department of Housing's home-building figures in recent months.

As recently as last week, DIT Housing lecturer Lorcan Sirr warned that we are only building about half the number of homes authorities claim we are.

Minister Murphy said his policies are "showing results."

"Fianna Fáil has nothing else to contribute but personal attacks," he said.

"Because they support Rebuilding Ireland; they support government policy and they know that it is working.

"But I also recognise that we have more to do  and that is what I am committed to doing.

Homelessness

On Sunday, Focus Ireland revealed that the number of homeless people aged 65 and over has shot up by 40% in the last two years.

The latest Department of Housing figures revealed that there are now nearly 10,000 homeless people in Ireland.

The charity's spokesman Roughan McNamara said the figures are “shameful” for the Government.

Asked about Deputy O'Brien's comments, he said Fianna Fáil " would really want to look at their own record; not only in Government but in the support arrangement they have with this Fine Gael Government to tackle this issue."

“They could be doing a lot more in their position rather than simply personalising it to gain easy and cheap headlines,” he said.

Focus Ireland has launched a petition calling for action on the rising number of elderly people entering homelessness.

With reporting from Kim Buckley ...