Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

15.57 17 Nov 2019


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The Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin have traded blows over the government's housing policy.

Mr Martin criticised the housing situation in Ireland, saying the crisis was at the "frontline of [the] failure" by the Fine Gael government in helping families "build a better future for the next generation".

Speaking at the National Youth Conference in Portlaoise last night, Mr Martin focused on the impact that the insufficient housing supply is having on young people.

He said in recent years the goal of owning your home "is drifting away from young people across the country".

Mr Martin said: "The reason for this is not that young people are squandering their wages on avocado toast.

"Nor is it because they want to live with Minister Murphy in what he calls boutique-style hotels or what the rest of us call extortionate chicken-battery bedsits.

"The real reason is a failure of government policy. That policy has created an affordability crisis that reaches deep into every community but impacts upon young people the hardest.

He told Ógra members that Fine Gael only realised that there was a housing problem following "massive losses" in the last election, after which they "published a strategy which has missed every major target and accompanied rising prices and rents".

He said Fianna Fáil is "committed to replacing this government’s record of failing to deliver with an absolute to deliver on housing".

This would be achieved by freezing rents, launching a €2bn Affordable Housing scheme, ensuring the Central Bank recognises rental payments for mortgages, and establishing shared ownership and special savers schemes.

'Entirely disingenuous'

Following the remarks, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy described Mr Martin's pledges as "entirely disingenuous".

He said that for three years Fianna Fáil have "promised a housing plan and still nothing" and only have "slogans and soundbites".

Mr Murphy said: "But now we are seeing some scant detail and even that is very worrying because it is so lacking in substance."

"The Minister and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar turned the sod on a new 153-home affordable housing development in Boherboy, Co Cork today, and he questioned whether Mr Martin was "so detached" that he overlooked the scheme.

Mr Martin later replied this afternoon that the Taoiseach and Mr Murphy "should knock on the doors of the Northside of Cork and they would find out pretty quickly what people think of their failed housing policies".

"Photos of hard hats and shovels in the middle of a by-election won’t cut it," he said on Twitter.

Main image: Composite image of Micheál Martin and Eoghan Murphy. Photos: Brian Lawless/PA Archive/PA Images

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Eoghan Murohy Fianna Fáil Fine Gael Housing Housing Policy Micheál Martin Politics

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