Darragh O’Brien lacks 'power and influence' to deliver homes as Housing Minister, a leading mortgage expert has claimed.
Minister O'Brien was appointed to the position in 2020 and has since overseen record levels of homelessness.
His Government colleagues point to rising numbers of first-time buyers in his defence and mortgage expert Karl Deeter believes the Minister is making the best of a dire situation.
“I think Darragh O’Brien, as far as Housing Ministers go, is actually doing a standup job given the raw materials that he has,” he told The Pat Kenny Show.
“I think his heart’s in the right place.”
Mr Deeter said Minister O’Brien is bringing in a lot of “incremental” changes but his powers to speed up the delivery of housing is limited.
“The power, the actual ability to influence change and decide what happens, is not with the Minister for Housing, it’s held in the many bodies, the planning organisations, the local authorities and every other vested interest out there,” he said.
“They have a huge sway and influence about what you can and can’t do.”
'Starting to calm down a little'
The Society of Chartered Surveyors has found the average cost of delivering a three-bedroom semi-detached house has risen to €397,000.
Price rises, Mr Deeter said, remain “crazy” and there is the potential for them to go up even further.
“There’s stuff that affects it that you never think will have an impact,” he said.
“Brazil just sent troops to Guyana because Venezuela might be [invading] that country and we get half our plywood from there.
“Plywood is a core thing for concrete, for housing, for all sorts.
“You just never realise where these angles for cost changes are coming from, it’s a big, interconnected world.”
He said inflation is “starting to calm down a little” but it has already had a huge impact on the market .
“We have seen massive inflation in prices,” he said.
“We’ve seen inflation in the materials that go into building homes, inflation in wages and energy - all the things that go into creating housing.
“Over three years, those costs are up 25%.”
Main image: Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien speaking at Dublin Castle.