Ó Broin responds to Taoiseach's 'desperate' attacks on Sinn Féin's housing record

Mary Lou McDonald and Micheál Martin clashing over housing has become an almost weekly spectacle...

10.50 3 Feb 2022

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Ó Broin responds to Taoiseach'...

Ó Broin responds to Taoiseach's 'desperate' attacks on Sinn Féin's housing record


10.50 3 Feb 2022

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Mary Lou McDonald and Micheál Martin clashing over housing has become an almost weekly spectacle in the Dáil.

The Sinn Féin leader criticises the Government for not doing enough around social and affordable housing, while the Taoiseach defends the Government’s ‘Housing for All’ strategy.

One criticism is often wheeled out by the Taoiseach - he claims that Sinn Féin has objected to or opposed thousands of homes in recent years.


Last week, for example, a row broke out between Sinn Fein’s housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin and the Taoiseach in the Chamber during leader's questions.


During the exchange, Mr Martin claimed: “[Sinn Féin] has opposed more than 6,000 houses that families could have done with over the past number of years.”

But do Sinn Féin councillors actually oppose housing developments as much as the Government claims?

Deputy Ó Broin spoke to Newstalk’s political correspondent Sean Defoe about the issue for today's Newstalk Breakfast.

The Sinn Féin TD suggested this regular line of attack is a “very desperate attempt by the Taoiseach to deflect attention from his own failures in government”.

He said: “The delivery of social and affordable is anemic and Micheál Martin is desperate to talk about anything other than that.

“So he keeps throwing out this very dishonest line about Sinn Féin, in the hope that’s what we’ll talk about instead of what’s actually happening on the ground, affecting real people.”

Fine Gael produced a report last year saying Sinn Féin had voted against more than 6,000 homes being built since 2018 in Dublin alone.

Fianna Fáil puts the number even higher, at more than 7,000 since 2019.

However, around half of those are from just four projects - and Deputy Ó Broin said his party had good reason to oppose them.

The projects

One of the projects is a controversial 853-home housing development on Oscar Traynor Road.

Deputy Ó Broin said: “We voted against transferring the land to Glenveagh at half its market value.

“50% of those homes would be sold at prices of €400,000 and the affordable homes would be way beyond the reach of most working people.”

Sinn Féin councillors initially supported a housing development at O’Devaney Gardens, but now oppose the deal.

Deputy Ó Broin explained: “The O’Devaney Gardens deal is even worse than Oscar Traynor Road, because that land is being gifted to Barta for free.

“The all-in-cost of the affordable homes will be between €350,000 and €404,000 - that’s not an acceptable use of public land.”

Another relates to a housing project planned at Killinarden in Tallaght.

In that case, Deputy Ó Broin noted that Sinn Féin ultimately abstained in the council vote on blocking the deal due to the involvement of the “very reputable” affordable housing charity O’Cualann.

The last of the four projects is the land transfer of 1,200 homes in Donabate.

Deputy Ó Broin said: “The developer will have ten years to develop that site - we need that site developed now, and 100% of the homes should be affordable.”

Headlines about local authority votes also don’t always tell the full story: councils often don’t have a full vote on final deals - more often, it’s a vote on the sale of land or rezoning.

3,500 of the homes counted by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil relate to a significant rezoning of land Dublin City Council did in 2020.

However, it’s far from clear if anywhere near that many housing units will actually be delivered.

Government TDs and senators claim it would suit Sinn Féin politically if very little progress is made on housing between the next election.

However, Sinn Féin defends the votes it has made at council-level against certain developments - saying they’ve done so because they feel the best deal hasn’t been reached.

Reporting by Sean Defoe. Additional reporting by Stephen McNeice.
Main image: Eoin Ó Broin (Photograph: Sam Boal / and Micheál Martin (Photography: Julien Behal Photography /

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