Most of housing list’s 90,000 have accommodation, Taoiseach says

Leo Varadkar defends State provision of family hubs in Dáil exchanges

The majority of the 90,000 people on the housing waiting list are already living in a house or apartment, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.

He said the accommodation had been provided through rent supplement or the private rental sector, and they were awaiting a different house or apartment more appropriate to their needs.

The provision of family hubs, he added, of which 15 were advancing or been delivered in Dublin, and three in Limerick, Cork and Kildare, was to ensure families no longer had to spend time in commercial hotels and B&Bs, except in extreme or exceptional circumstances.

“Staying in a B&B or hotel is not appropriate for a family,’’ Mr Varadkar added.


He said the Government was committed to spending €5.35 billion, pretty much €1 billion annually, to deliver 47,000 social homes by the end of 2021.

The Taoiseach was replying in the Dáil to Independent TD Joan Collins who said that, apart from the 90,000 people on the housing list, there were also the "silent homeless" living in overcrowded accommodation.

Ms Collins referred to a study, written by Dr Rory Hearne and Dr Mary Murphy, of Maynooth University, which concluded the housing crisis had not yet peaked and was likely to escalate over the next five years.

“It states that families can be severely damaged and traumatised from living in emergency accommodation including family hubs,’’ Ms Collins added.

Mr Varadkar said he had met Dr Hearne on occasion in the past.

“I recall he was student union president in Trinity when I was a student there and I think he may even have been an election candidate for one of the left-wing groups more recently than that,’’ he added.

The Taoiseach said he had met Dr Hearne not too long ago at a running event in the Phoenix Park. "He was less than pleasant, to put it that way,'' Mr Varadkar added. "It certainly was not the kind of polite conversation I would expect from a university academic.''

Michael O'Regan

Michael O'Regan

Michael O’Regan is a former parliamentary correspondent of The Irish Times