Murphy criticised for not attending Dublin council meeting

Minister accused of treating council with ‘contempt’, ‘ignorance’ and ‘arrogance’

Eoghan Murphy: he has summoned the chief executives of all 31 local authorities along with their housing department personnel to an emergency summit on homelessness in the Custom House on Friday. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Eoghan Murphy: he has summoned the chief executives of all 31 local authorities along with their housing department personnel to an emergency summit on homelessness in the Custom House on Friday. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

 

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has been castigated by Dublin city councillors for not attending Monday night’s council meeting to discuss homelessness and the housing crisis.

The council has called on Mr Murphy to meet with it “as a matter of urgency” to discuss funding a social housing building programme.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Mícheál Mac Donncha said he had invited Mr Murphy last June, but had only learned in the last week that he would not be coming.

“I am disappointed he will not be attending in advance of publication of his review of the Government housing policy Rebuilding Ireland, particularly when we have just had a summer during which the housing crisis worsened,” he said.

Mr Murphy is undertaking a review of the Government programme published last year to address the housing crisis.

Mr Mac Donncha said it was “absolutely vital” in the context of the review that Mr Murphy heard from councillors from the largest local authority and where the housing crisis was most acute. “We need to put the local authorities back at the centre of housing provision with the resources to match.”

He added that the “notion floated of an Irish Water-type housing authority is not something I’d be happy with”.

Independent councillor Christy Burke said Mr Murphy’s failure to attend the meeting was “an absolute disgrace”.

He accused the Minister of treating the council with “contempt”, “ignorance” and “arrogance”.

Unprecedented crisis

Sinn Féin councillor Daithi Doolan, chairman of the council’s housing committee, said the Minister should meet the council before the publication of the review.

“It beggars belief that Eoghan Murphy has found he doesn’t have the time, the commitment, or the willingness to engage with Dublin City Council. We are in the eye of an unprecedented crisis; he needs to engage with us directly.”

However, Fine Gael councillor Paddy McCartan said Mr Murphy was prepared to meet with the councillors this month.

“There is no doubting the commitment of Minister Murphy as a former member of this council to deal with the problem,” Mr McCartan said. “If there is an emergency meeting of the council with nothing else on the agenda except the review of Rebuilding Ireland he is prepared to come into the council in September...To suggest there is a lack of commitment to engage with Dublin City Council is untrue.”

The council meeting came after the deaths of three homeless people on successive days last week.

Emergency summit

Mr Murphy has summoned the chief executives of all 31 local authorities along with their housing department personnel to an emergency summit on homelessness in the Custom House on Friday.

Local authorities are being asked to identify “innovative and tailored solutions” to the housing and homelessness issues in their particular local authority area.