O’Brien ‘failing’ as Minister for Housing, Doherty says

Ivana Bacik says Housing for All targets should be closer to 50,000 homes per year

Darragh O’Brien has been told he is “failing” in his role as Minister for Housing by Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Pearse Doherty in the Dáil on Thursday.

Mr Doherty said the Housing for All plan was “a shambles” and “was not delivering” during Leaders’ Questions.

The Donegal TD said housing targets were too low and there were no updates this year on the number of affordable homes built.

Mr Doherty said even planned housing developments were not being built on time and yet the Minister was “more than happy to show up for photograph after photograph and soundbite after soundbite”.


“All around us, everybody knows your plan is a shambles minister, it’s not working, it’s not delivering and you as a minister are failing,” he said.

The Sinn Féin deputy leader said at least 20,000 public homes needed to be delivered annually, and 8,000 of those should be “genuinely affordable” homes to rent or buy.

He said under Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil home ownership rates had fallen and there was a generation of people locked out of owning their own homes.

Labour leader Ivana Bacik also said the Housing for All plan was failing - “failing in ambition and failing in delivery”.

Ms Bacik said targets needed to be updated and should be closer to 50,000 homes per year, instead of 30,000.

The Dublin Bay South TD said there also had to be additional capital investment in housing delivery of up to €1 billion this year.

She said two years on from the announcement of the Housing for All plan, house prices had skyrocketed and rents were spiralling with record-breaking homelessness figures.

“All the key indicators are showing failure on the Housing for All programme, both in ambition and on delivery, and it’s just not good enough. We are seeing people and families being failed,” she said.

In response, Mr O’Brien said last year there were just under 30,000 new homes delivered in what was “a difficult year” in terms of supply chain inflation.

He said there were more first-time buyers now drawing down mortgages “every single week” than there were since 2007.

“The reason for that is the support this Government and I, as minister, are putting in place,” he said.

The Fianna Fáil TD said the help-to-buy grant, the first home scheme and the Croí Cónaithe vacancy grant were all assisting buyers and €4.5bn was being invested through the Housing for All plan.

Mr O’Brien added that “we do need to catch up on housing delivery” and there remained challenges but that this year’s housing target would be exceeded.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times