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Tetchy exchange as Taoiseach told he should be ‘ashamed’ only 8 affordable homes ready

Erik G

THERE WERE TETCHY exchanges between Mary Lou McDonald and Micheál Martin today in the Dáil with the Sinn Féin leader accusing the Taoiseach of “spoofing” about the housing crisis. 

In turn, the Taoiseach accused Sinn Féin of hypocrisy when it came to housing, insisting the party was exploiting the housing crisis for its own political gains.

During Leaders’ Questions, McDonald raised an answer to a recent parliamentary question asked by Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin. The deputy was told that only eight affordable homes will be delivered by the end of the year. 

The Sinn Féin leader said it was “scandalous” that such a low number will be delivered in 2021. 

“Is it any wonder we are in a housing crisis,” she told the Taoiseach.

The Taoiseach should be “ashamed”, she said, adding:

You’re big on numbers, big on targets but low on delivery. You can’t spoof your way out of this one.

Martin hit out against Sinn Féin claiming that the party has been opposing local housing developments that contain affordable units in many areas.

“It has voted against every affordability measure at every turn. In particular, it opposed the help-to-buy scheme that has helped 22,000 people to get onto the property market.

It opposed more than 6,000 homes in Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council. Right across the board, it has opposed projects that had significant affordable components in those particular schemes.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

McDonald said:

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“For the Taoiseach, it seems housing is all about the profits of the private sector and Government initiatives that are really about lining the pockets of developers. He continues down that road relentlessly.

He knows full well that so many people are stuck paying massive rents, forking out as much as €2,000 a month. I do not know how a person can put together a deposit for a house while paying that kind of rent.

She said that having just eight affordable houses being delivered this year is “a slap in the face to every person who is in housing need across the State”.

Martin also accused McDonald of “feigning” surprise over the figure, saying that she already knew that there would be a low output of affordable homes this year.

He also blamed the Covid-19 pandemic for the low rate at which homes are being built.

Defending the Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien, he said while construction was stalled, the minister had passed legislation that underpins affordability measures. 

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