Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien has been accused of lying in the Dáil on Thursday by Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh.
There were sharp exchanges on Thursday in the chamber between Mr O’Brien and Mr Ó Snodaigh as well as Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Pearse Doherty.
Mr O’Brien said Sinn Féin continued to object to housing “all over the country” and that Mr Ó Snodaigh had objected to 200 social and affordable homes in his constituency of Dublin South Central.
Mr Ó Snodaigh shouted across the chamber that the Minister was lying.
Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl told the Sinn Féin TD not to “accuse a member of the House of lying”.
In response, Mr Ó Snodaigh said: “If somebody stands up here and says an untruth in this House, it is a lie in anybody else’s terminology. In this House we have to call it an untruth, it is an untruth that I objected to the houses you are talking about … It is a lie.”
It was reported last month that Mr Ó Snodaigh had objected to the proposed development of more than 200 housing units on a site in the Kimmage Road West area, in part due to the “shadowing” it could cast over neighbouring social housing. It is also understood the Sinn Féin TD also had concerns about the lack of three-bedroom apartments in the new development.
Speaking during Leaders’ Questions this afternoon, Mr Doherty raised the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland’s (SCSI) latest report on the cost of housing delivery.
It found the average cost of delivering a new three-bed semi-detached home in Dublin has risen by €90,000 to €461,000 in just 3½ years. The group also calculated that first-time buyers, individuals or couples, purchasing a new three-bed unit in Dublin with a mortgage, now needed a minimum total salary of €127,000.
The cost of building a basic three-bed house in a multiunit scheme ranged from €354,000 in the northwest, the cheapest region, to €461,000 in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA).
Mr Doherty said the vast majority of workers and families in the GDA had “no chance, no hope” of being able to afford to buy a newly built home under the Government and this also extended beyond Dublin.
The Donegal TD said the situation reflected the “abject failure” of the Government’s housing plan and the Minister was overseeing “the largest increases in rents since records began”.
In response, Mr O’Brien said Mr Doherty had neglected to say that the SCSI were clear about their support for Government schemes such as the First Home Scheme, the Help to Buy grant and Development Levy Waiver scheme, to which Sinn Féin was opposed.
The Minister said there would be more than 30,000 homes built this year and the Government was “turning a corner” on housing delivery.
Mr O’Brien said there remain challenges but that on every measure the Government had brought forward Sinn Féin had opposed them, including the Land Development Agency and grants to first-time buyers.
“Inexplicably, your party continues to object to housing all over the country,” he told Mr Doherty. “Ask Deputy Ó Snodaigh behind you as to why he objected to 200 social and affordable homes in his own constituency.”