Tánaiste pledges provision of up to 10,000 social houses annually

Tommy Broughan says Government relying on developers and landlords to ease crisis

Tánaiste Simon Coveney said a point would be reached where an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 social houses were provided annually.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney said a point would be reached where an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 social houses were provided annually.

 

Tánaiste Simon Coveney has defended the Government’s record on the provision of social housing in heated Dáil exchanges.

He was replying on Thursday to Independent TD Tommy Broughan, who accused the Government of relying on profit-driven property developers and landlords in housing the homeless.

Mr Broughan said there was an absence of a serious pipeline of housing, adding there was a need for an emergency programme.

Mr Coveney said he would not accept Mr Broughan’s “pretence’’ that the Government did not have a pipeline of social housing. He said in 2016 there were only 657 social houses delivered.

“Last year, that figure jumped to just under 2,300,” he added. “The figure this year will be significantly higher again, as well as the year after that.”

Mr Coveney said a point would be reached where an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 social houses were provided annually.

“We have the funding and the pipeline to deliver that in terms of projects,’’ he added.

Figures released on Wednesday revealed the number of people in homeless accommodation fell slightly, from 6,035 in March to 5,963 in April.

However, the figures represented a 19.9 per cent increase on the April 2017 figure of 4,972.

There is also an ongoing controversy over the removal of 578 people from the March figures compared with the February figures, under a reclassification exercise by the Department of Housing.

Mr Coveney said the family hubs were not the long-term solution, but the Government had been faced with a dramatic increase in homelessness in a very short space of time.

The Government had to respond to people in that very difficult set of circumstances, he added.

Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin said there was no sign of the housing crisis abating. Child homelessness alone had increased by a “shocking” 74 per cent under Fine Gael-led governments, he said.