Dermot Desmond and Sinn Féin’s Eoin Ó Broin talk housing

Pair had ‘constructive exchange’ around billionaire financier’s Irish Times article

Dermot Desmond was contacted by the Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Mid-West after his article on the housing crisis was published in The Irish Times on Saturday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Dermot Desmond was contacted by the Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Mid-West after his article on the housing crisis was published in The Irish Times on Saturday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

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Billionaire financier Dermot Desmond and Sinn Féin’s housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin have discussed the housing crisis following the investor’s analysis of the property market’s failings.

Mr Ó Broin, whose performance in the housing brief is seen as one of the factors which drove his party’s strong showing in the general election, wrote to Mr Desmond over the weekend after the article was published in The Irish Times on Saturday.

The Dublin Mid West TD said the businessman rang him on Monday morning for “a very constructive exchange based on his article”. Mr Ó Broin said he was “very interested in meeting anyone who has anything constructive to say”.

Dermot Desmond

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“Given how influential he is in business circles, and notwithstanding the political differences I have with him, [his article] is a very significant contribution and substantial critique of Government policy,” he said. Mr Ó Broin said he would “welcome an opportunity to meet with him and discuss more”.

In his article, Mr Desmond raised concerns about the capacity of ordinary workers to access the housing market

Mr Desmond’s office did not respond to a request for comment from The Irish Times on Monday.

The Sinn Féin deputy said Mr Desmond had indicated he was planning to write to political party leaders with a copy of his article and “an open invitation to discuss the ideas he has outlined”.

In his article, Mr Desmond raised concerns about the capacity of ordinary workers to access the housing market, as well as the wider financialisation of housing stock. He argued the Government should take a more interventionist approach to the market, guaranteeing low-cost loans to fund deposits for house purchase, and set more ambitious social housing targets.

Mr Ó Broin said he had committed to sharing material and reports from the Oireachtas housing committee and other research he had done himself with Mr Desmond.