Sinn Féin accuses government of 'misrepresenting' housing figures

The government has been accused of 'misrepresenting' figures relating to housing targets and achi...
Mairead Maguire
Mairead Maguire

14.44 12 Mar 2023

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Sinn Féin accuses government o...

Sinn Féin accuses government of 'misrepresenting' housing figures

Mairead Maguire
Mairead Maguire

14.44 12 Mar 2023

Share this article

The government has been accused of 'misrepresenting' figures relating to housing targets and achievements by Sinn Féin.

The party's spokesperson for housing, Eoin Ó Broin, says that fundamental change is needed within existing schemes, otherwise Housing Minister Daragh O'Brien's claims are "meaningless".

The pair joined On The Record to discuss the housing crisis and the lifting of the eviction ban.


Minister O'Brien said that the moratorium gave the government breathing space to "delivery more permanent homes".

The Minister says roughly 650 more beds have been made available in emergency accommodation.

Since quarter three of last year, he says, the government has delivered approximately 7,000 new social homes and 600 new homes leased and bought more than 500 units.

Around 1,500 vacant units have been brought back into use and there is an ongoing expansion of the Tenants in Situ scheme which allows local authorities to buy from landlords selling up and keeps the current tenants in their home.

According to Eoin Ó Broin, Sinn Féin's spokesperson for housing, these figures only indicate that the government missed its targets.

"They were to deliver 9,000 [social housing] units and the Minister has just admitted in your interview that he'll only have delivered about 7,000", he said

"The 1,500 vacants aren't vacant. They're actually what we call casual tenancies where one tenant moves out and another tenant moves in."

"Just like Eoghan Murphy, Daragh O'Brien is misrepresenting those."


Ó Broin says the misrepresentation of the Tenant in Situ scheme is the "biggest scandal".

"[The Minister] left the decision-making to local authorities and what most local authorities are doing is using their ordinary rules for allocating properties when making decisions about the purchase", he said.

In Ó Broin's local authority, out of the 108 properties offered to South Dublin County Council in the last year, only three have been purchased.

Since the scheme reopened, there have been 13 purchases across Dublin.

"That target of 1,500 Tenant in Situs is meaningless if [the Minister] doesn't change the scheme", he said.

Lifting eviction ban

Minister O'Brien says the controversial decision to lift the ban on evictions was "not taken lightly".

"We've a rental market and a rental system, on the private side, that isn't functioning as it should be", he said.

"We've lost thousands of tenancies over the last five to six years."

"I genuinely believe based on the advice that I got and the research that we've done that a further extension, while in the short-term maybe a more popular move to make, would actually do more medium-term damage."

Ó Broin shot down the assertion that an extension on the moratorium would cause even more landlords to flee the market.

Over the last seven years, he says, no government has made a concerted effort to address the issues in the housing market that ultimately led to a crisis.

"What government needs to focus on is what do they need to do to ensure the minimum level of homelessness as single property landlords are selling up", he said.

Listen back to the full conversation here.

Main image shows Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien. Picture by: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

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Daragh O'Brien Eoin O'Broin Eviction Ban Homelessness Crisis Housing Crisis

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