Cowen: Minister kicking too many wides on housing policy

The Offaly TD has been heavily critical

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

Cowen: Minister kicking too many wides on housing policy

Cowen: Minister kicking too many wides on housing policy

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing Barry Cowen TD has challenged the housing figures used by Minister Eoghan Murphy.

Deputy Cowen was responding to the Minister’s publication of new data on social housing. The Fianna Fáil TD highlighted the gap between targets used by the Department in PQ responses in 2017 and the new targets outlined in Monday’s statements.

In addition there is a major gap between BER registrations and stamp duty transactions and the construction levels highlighted by the embattled Minister today, according to the Offaly TD.

Deputy Cowen stated, “The Minister’s own figures don’t add up. In a PQ reply to me in October the Minister stated that the target for social housing new builds in 2017 was 3,200. Today’s statement has revised that figure downwards to 2,434, meaning the Government is now aiming to deliver 800 fewer homes than originally planned."

“However, despite moving the goalpost, Minister Murphy has still missed his reduced target. It’s notable that he is using inflated construction figures based on dubious ESB connections of 2,245 new units. It is also suspicious that the total annual output tripled in the last three months of 2017 from 773 to 2,245," he added.

“The Minister continues to use ESB connections as the basis for his housing output. This is despite the fact that this method of calculation has been widely discredited by industry experts."

“There is a huge gap between BER registrations and stamp duty figures for new builds. These figures show that 9,000 new homes were delivered which contrasts significantly to the 19,000 figure that the Minister is claiming to have delivered," Cowen continued.

“Minister Murphy established a Housing Data Analytics Group to re-assess how data is compiled after coming under significant pressure on the issue last year. However it has yet to report on the creation of a new system and the significant doubt surrounding the current system remains."

“Ultimately this crisis will only be solved when we start to build. Relying on the private sector will not work. Local authorities have also shown themselves to be ill equipped for the task. Fianna Fáil believes it’s time for a new Housing Authority to take the lead in delivering social and affordable homes right across Ireland," he concluded.

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