Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein tables motion of no confidence in housing minister Eoghan Murphy

Mr Murphy has come under increased pressure during the summer as homeless figures threatened to hit 10,000.

Children now represent one in three homeless people in Ireland (Brian Lawless/PA)
Children now represent one in three homeless people in Ireland (Brian Lawless/PA)

Sinn Fein have tabled a motion of no confidence in the Government’s housing minister Eoghan Murphy.

The motion was tabled by the Sinn Fein housing spokesman Eoin O Broin after the announcement that they would put the motion forward at a party think-in last week.

Mr Murphy, who has been minister for housing for 15 months, has come under increased pressure during the summer as homeless figures threatened to hit 10,000.

During his tenure, homelessness has increased 25%, and children now represent one in three homeless people in Ireland.

Criticism came to a boil last month when a homeless family with seven children were forced to sleep in a Garda Station due to a lack of emergency accommodation, and a number of protests took place around Dublin, occupying derelict property, as well as the minister’s own office.

Mr O Broin said the Government had failed to tackle the homelessness issue and has described the figures as a national crisis.

“Fine Gael’s housing policies are not only failing to tackle the housing crisis, they are actually making things worse.

“They have been in office for seven years and during that time homelessness has reached unprecedented levels.

“During their first term of office they slashed investment in social and affordable housing and cut staffing levels in council housing departments.

“Meanwhile, the minister responsible attacks local authorities, local councillors, and opposition parties in the Dail for the failures of his Government.

“During his months in office, he has opted for spin over substance and, crucially, has not been willing to accept that his policies are failing.

“Minister Murphy continues to defend the indefensible.

“He is so out of touch and out of his depth that he doesn’t even realise that what he is doing is making the crisis worse.”

Mr Murphy said the motion of no confidence was Sinn Fein “chasing headlines” when it was first announced last week.

The motion reads: “This Dail does not have confidence in Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy and calls for him to be removed from office.

“Calls on the Government to accept that Rebuilding Ireland has failed and to urgently introduce a new housing plan that will meet social and affordable housing need through an ambitious programme of public housing provision, and tackle homelessness through a greater focus on prevention and reduction of the length of time adults and children spend in emergency  accommodation.”

Leader of the opposition Micheal Martin said on Tuesday that his party would not support the motion of no confidence in Mr Murphy, despite heavily criticising the minister at his party’s Think-In in Malahide.

He said: “It was shocking last week to see the Minister for Housing and the Taoiseach trying to blame local authorities for their own shortcomings in relation to the housing crisis.

“It’s been five years now since the government, in different guises, were warned there would be a crisis.

“It was a pathetic blame game to try and deflect attention from their own failings.

“However, Eoghan Murphy is minister right now, I’ve said before that we will uphold the confidence and supply agreement and that has not changed, if I was to uphold a no confidence motion I would be in breach of that.

“We believe that the agreement is important in the broader sense of how the country is run.

“Motions don’t build houses – they have no impact at all. I’m not going to engage or indulge in more political theatre.”

Press Association

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