Darragh O’Brien denies Government taking homes out of private market to boost social housing stock

Minister for Housing says ‘vast majority’ of new social housing made up of ‘new builds’ rather than ‘acquisitions’

Darragh O’Brien claims 'real progress' on housing is being made. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw / The Irish Times

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien denied the Government is taking homes out from the private market to boost its social and affordable homes stock.

“Absolutely not. And be very clear on this: the homes that are being delivered and we’ve targeted 9,100 new social homes, new builds ... and we’ve an overall target of over 11,500, and I can tell you here that I predict we will attain that target, and that will be through a mix – the vast majority of new builds. There will be some acquisitions.

“Like the scheme that we brought in, the purchase of homes with tenants in situ. We’ve over 2,500 of those actually concluded already.”

He added: “Cost rental didn’t exist 20 months ago, we have now hundreds of cost-rental tenancies in place.


“In the month of November alone I approved 1,600 further ones, good, new apartment developments all across our cities in the country that we haven’t seen in 10-12 years. So, like there will be people who try to deny that progress, and that’s fine, that’s their job, but they’ve got to come up with alternatives and no alternatives have been brought forward.

“There is real progress being made and when we close out this year, and in quarter one next year, when we publish the figures, it will be there for everyone to see that real progress has been made under Housing for All.”

Mr O’Brien would not say whether the Government would reach its social and affordable new-build housing targets for the year.

It was put to the minister that figures published this week show the Government is lagging behind its social and affordable target for 2023, which is set at 9,100 and 5,500 respectively.

He responded that the last quarter will see a high number of completions and that this will be a “good year for housing delivery”.

“The last quarter is very strong on delivery, as it was last year. We delivered over 6,000 new social homes in the last quarter of last year, we’ll actually do more than that this year,” he said on Friday.

“Now, I don’t get into predictions ... what I’m telling you is it’s my job to deliver homes for people. By the end of this year, since I took over as Housing Minister we’ll have delivered over 100,000 new homes in this country.

“See the commencement figures yesterday – really, really strong. We’ve commenced nearly 30,000 new homes this year alone, planning permissions up, commencements up, completions up as well. We have a couple of weeks now left to close off this year and it’ll be a very strong year on delivery.

“It is actually building on the progress that we made already. We have more to do in that space with a strong pipeline for next year too. So, this will be a good year for housing delivery.”