Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien has dismissed claims the Government is bailing out developers over plans to buy apartments.
It has emerged the coalition is considering the advance purchase of apartments, which already have planning permission, before they are built to speed up construction.
A meeting was held earlier between ministers, lobby groups and housing experts.
Minister O'Brien rejected claims from Sinn Féin's Housing Spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin that buying thousands of apartments would be a bail out for developers.
He told The Hard Shoulder it is about helping people.
"It's not a bailout for anyone," he said.
"What it is is about providing homes for people to live in, and for people to buy at an affordable rate.
"We've seen the highest amount of first-time buyers in the last 12 months, and we've seen in well over a decade over 16,000 households able to buy their first home.
"They're back as the biggest proportion of people buying homes.
"We need to tackle the affordability piece, that's why I brought in the First Home Shared Equity Scheme.
"[It] is helping a lot of people who are stuck renting, or living with their folks, to actually be able to bridge the affordability gap by the State stepping in and providing that assistance".
'Far from perfect'
Minister O'Brien said mechanisms to help first-time buyers are working.
"One thing is not going to sort everything out," he said.
"It needs a combination of measures - the housing system as we have right now is far from perfect, I know that.
"We've got to be able to increase supply, which thankfully we're doing, but we've also got to be able to help people.
"The locked-out generation, that are listening to your show and others, and that I talk to all the time... who are saying 'How can I buy my own home?'
"I've now brought in mechanisms to help people do that and thankfully, even in a short space of time since July, that's actually happening now," he added.