Minister for Housing makes no show at property industry event

Bitter disappointment down to diary error as Murphy attends Focus Ireland event instead

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy at Focus Ireland’s official opening of its John’s Lane West housing development. Photograph Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy at Focus Ireland’s official opening of its John’s Lane West housing development. Photograph Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

 

Guests at an event in Dublin’s Marker Hotel last Friday were left bitterly disappointed when their guest of honour failed to attend. It was more than a little embarrassing for organisers of the Irish House Builders Association (IHBA) lunch when their special guest, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy, was a last-minute no show.

So last minute in fact that the 250 members were left looking at an empty chair where the Minister was expected to have been seated. Once the search was under way it emerged that an eleventh hour email had been dispatched mid-morning by the Minister’s office to say there had been a diary clash.

This did little to assuage the disappointment of attendees at the IHBA gathering who, aside from builders, included bankers, estate agents and investors in the property sector. As one attendee put it: “It was very disappointing given that it was such an excellent opportunity for the Minister to address the industry and outline the Government’s objectives in addressing the current housing crisis.”

Head scratching

Meanwhile back at Ministerial HQ, it seems a lot of head scratching ensued. Even midway through this week they were still “trying to get to the bottom of it”, until a spokesman for the Minister subsequently confirmed to The Irish Times that the mistake lay at the door of the Minister’s diary office.

“The Minister was not aware that the lunch was taking place or that his office had agreed to attend. He is disappointed that he was not there and has spoken to Tom Parlon of the Construction Industry Federation to organise a meeting with the group.”

The event the Minister had instead attended on Friday was the opening of 31 social housing apartments in Dublin provided by Focus Ireland, and even that was somewhat marred when he was heckled at length in front of the assembled press. Bad day at the office all round for the Minister.