Belfast Telegraph

Minister Byrne ‘couldn’t continue’ if she votes against housing minister

Leo Varadkar in warning to colleague ahead of motion of no confidence on Tuesday.

Minister Catherine Byrne “couldn’t continue” in Government if she votes against the Housing Minister in a Dail no-confidence motion on Tuesday, the Taoiseach has warned.

Leo Varadkar said the Government had to act collectively but he has not spoken to Ms Bryne about the vote yet.

The motion targeting minister Eoghan Murphy has been tabled by Sinn Fein after months of debate about homelessness and a Government response which campaigners believe is inadequate.

Mr Varadkar told RTE: “We’re a Government, you know, we’re collective.

“We make decisions together and if a minister doesn’t have confidence in another minister and votes that way, then obviously they couldn’t continue – but like I say she hasn’t had this conversation with me yet.”

Mr Murphy said last July he was designating the site of a former council flats complex in Dublin for a pioneering not-for-profit rental scheme.

Ms Byrne, Minister of State at the Department of Health, wrote to Dublin city councillors asking them to oppose the plans.

On Monday evening she tweeted: “As a lifelong resident of Inchicore, I want what is best for my community.

“The former St Michael’s Estate site has a very difficult history and we now have a chance to develop it in a way that will build a sustainable community for the future.”

She said she wanted to see the vacant site developed.

“However, I do not believe the proposal for a large-scale, high-density apartment development, which would be a major pilot for the cost-rental model in this country, is the right choice for this site.

“It will only serve to put huge pressure on our already fractured community.”

Despite Government promises to build large numbers of new houses, according to Focus Ireland the country does not have a public housing system to meet the needs of the society.

In the last decade the lack of social housing provision combined with private house building grinding to a halt has meant more people than ever are renting their homes, the anti-homelessness charity and advocacy group added.

It said almost one in five households lives in a privately rented home, compared with one in 10 a decade ago.

“This has led to enormous pressure on the private rental market which has resulted in constantly rising rent levels and a lack of properties to rent.”

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