| 13.2°C Belfast

Taoiseach denies his Government is divided over housing plans

Opposition parties have questioned reports that the summer economic statemen has been delayed in a row over funding for housing in the next budget.

Close

Taoiseach Micheal Martin speaking in the Dail where defended the Government’s housing policy which will see the state spend almost one billion euro to lease 2,400 homes from institutional funds (Oireachtas TV/PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin speaking in the Dail where defended the Government’s housing policy which will see the state spend almost one billion euro to lease 2,400 homes from institutional funds (Oireachtas TV/PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin speaking in the Dail where defended the Government’s housing policy which will see the state spend almost one billion euro to lease 2,400 homes from institutional funds (Oireachtas TV/PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin has denied that his Government is divided on the issue of housing.

During Leader’s Questions on Wednesday, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald raised reports that the summer economic statement had been delayed amid rows over funding for housing in the next budget.

A Cabinet meeting on Tuesday ended without agreement on the statement, with a second meeting taking place on Wednesday.

I will lead the Government that will invest more in social housing than any other in history. Taoiseach Micheal Martin

The Taoiseach denied that there had been disagreements within Government on the issue.

He said: “There is no disagreement in terms of the prioritisation of housing by this Government.

“Over the last month or so we have seen manifestation of the Minister for Housing’s commitment to radically change approaches in relation to housing, in terms of social housing, in terms of affordable housing, in terms of cost rental, in terms of getting voids back in much more quickly.

“And a whole range of supports for people, to enable them to buy their own houses. But the key issue will be supply.

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

“The summer economic statement will outline the broad fiscal framework.

“The National Development Plan will outline will outline the very significant capital investment that this Government is going to undertake.

“And the Housing For All strategy, that the minister will publish, will equally outline a step change in terms of the construction of housing, social, affordable, right across the board.”

Ms McDonald said the reports of cracks appearing within the coalition on the issue were “incredible”.

She said: “In May, Taoiseach, it was also reported that there was another disagreement at Cabinet.

“On that occasion Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar pushed back when you suggested that Government should make housing its number one priority.

“Now it seems that his Fine Gael colleague and Finance Minister Paschal Donohue is now not content with signing off on an increase in the funding to be allocated for housing.

“This is incredible, Taoiseach. The level of present funding is woefully inadequate.

“Anyone with an ounce of wit or any sense of the depths of the housing crisis knows that.”

Ms McDonald accused the Taoiseach of abandoning a commitment he had made during the last election, to deliver 20,000 social and affordable homes every year for five years.

“Will you now commit to doubling capital investment in social and affordable homes to deliver at least 20,000 homes that workers and families desperately need and rightly deserve?” she asked.

Mr Martin responded: “I will lead the Government that will invest more in social housing than any other in history.

“I’ll lead a Government that will get the State and local authorities building homes again despite your objections, and I’ll lead a Government that will face you down and everybody else who tries to exploit housing for their own electoral advancement.”

Martin again denied there are divisions in Government on the issue when it was raised by Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy.

He said: “In terms of the summer economic statement, that will be published, there’s no issue there.

“It’s quite obvious that Government will look at frameworks around the summer economic statement, looking at it over five years.

“The Minister for Finance and the Minister for Public Expenditure work very much in harmony with the rest of Government.

“But the point I made earlier, is that it will reflect fairly significant capital investment in a whole range of areas of the economy.

“In enterprise,  in terms of the environment and climate change, but particularly in housing.

The Housing for All strategy will reveal that and the issue, as I said earlier, won’t be one of resources. It actually will be one of delivery.”


Top Videos



Privacy