‘I’ve No Evidence In My Department’


Readers may recall how The Irish Times yesterday published comments made by the outgoing chairman of the Housing Agency Conor Skehan.

Mr Skehan said some families living in emergency accommodation may be “gaming the system” by declaring themselves homeless in order to be moved up the housing waiting list.

Further to this…

At a meeting of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group this morning to review the impact of Storm Eleanor, in which Mr Murphy told journalists there was adequate preparation for the storm…

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy also told reporters he has seen no evidence of the so-called “gaming”, claimed by Mr Skehan, in his department.



Related: Families in emergency housing ‘may be gaming the system’ (The Irish Times, January 2, 2018)

Pics: Dept of Housing


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74 thoughts on “‘I’ve No Evidence In My Department’

  1. Andrew

    He should contact councillor Jimmy Guerin of Fingal; who is on public record saying that people are actively gaming the system.

  2. Diddy

    Gaming the system… the world doesn’t owe you anything they say. Well the opposite must also be true.

  3. scottser

    anyone who is provided emergency accommodation has been first assessed as homeless by the local authority. the issue of gaming the system should then be directed at the councils’ assessment protocols, not the homelesss households themselves. gleeson and now skeahan. for two high up players in homelessness, their knowledge of the subject matter is embarrassingly non-existent.
    interesting that the housing agency are running a mile from his comments.

      1. mildred st. meadowlark

        Lads, ollie says it’s a fact so it must be true.

        He must have some really compelling proof to it up too. Can’t wait to see.

    1. realPolithicks

      It’s obviously part of the continuing effort by this government to demonize homeless people and “normalize” homelessness in general.

  4. Harry Molloy

    Undoubtedly there are people gaming the system, as there are people gaming any system which can be gamed to someones benefit.

    It doesn’t take away from the fact we have a housing crisis though.

    1. GiggidyGoo

      The only ‘gaming’ occurs when people, with the help of councilors, TDs etc. are elevated on the waiting lists for no obvious reason. Hard to know who does the elevation, but a good cross-section of Councillors, TDs etc. write letters to the new tenants congratulating them and ‘happy to help’ messages.

      1. scottser

        it’s hardly gaming. a homeless family placed in a hotel costs the taxpayer a fortune. after 6 months if they haven’t found a rented tenancy a council providing some form of social housing support makes financial sense.

          1. scottser

            i see your point, but it would be better to build lots of houses and have no need for arbitrary and ridiculous regulations.

    2. edalicious

      If gaming occurs, it’s usually a problem with the system, rather than the people doing the gaming.

      1. Harry Molloy


        Any efforts to fix such gaps in a system seem to result in accusations of hating the poor but sure that’s inevitable.

        1. edalicious

          If you put a huge amount of effort into fixing a gap that poor people take advantage of, while at the same time ignoring gaps that wealthy people take advantage of and that cost the exchequer far larger sums, then there might be something in those accusations…

          But I agree, it’s best to solve the underlying problem so that you don’t even need a system to deal with it in the first place!

  5. GiggidyGoo

    Ah, that old phrase…. ‘It’s complex’. In other words, ‘I cannot give you details as it would be a waste of time because you wouldn’t understand’ Or the real translation – ‘how dare you question me’.

  6. Daisy Chainsaw

    Failed manager blames homeless people for making his job to house people too difficult. This is the guy who says homelessness is normal!

  7. stephen lane

    “There is no evidence of _____________” is simple Jesuit-speak 1.0
    It just means that they haven’t looked for evidence of gaming – therefore they haven’t found any.

    1. bisted

      …ah here…you made that up…the Jesuits insist you accept everything from talking snakes to virgin births without evidence…

  8. anne

    “Gaming” as in they have a house somewhere they just dont bother living in, coz like they’d prefer a hotel room. These people making those comments are on dotting.

    Shows a distinct lack of empathy.

    1. Rob_G

      Erica Fleming turned down two offers of housing to stay in a hotel, as she was holding out for nothing less than an offer of a council house in the suburb of her choosing.

      Don’t know how widespread this is, but it definitely happens.

  9. Dhaughton99

    I don’t know many homeless but I can think of 3 different people who were classed as “homeless”, who became that way due to having a baby, leaving their parents home and signing on as homeless even though they still had rooms in the house. They have all been moved from hotels and into apartments. Longest stay in a hotel was 8 months.

    1. anne

      Generations of families living together is not the way forward.. having a baby in the same room as you, in your parent’s house is not suitable for anyone.

        1. Anomanomanom

          Every time I make similar comments I get attacked by the whinger brigade. Having a baby is something most women want, its natural and part of life. But if your in a position where you have a baby that you can’t afford that should then be your problem not the states.

          1. anne

            You’re thinking is arseways… the state in collusion with landlords & vultures make it impossible for people to afford children & put a roof over their heads.

            A single income family could afford to own a home a few decades back.. with most now not being able to do this, is not due to some naturally occurring random force of nature. This is due to deliberate policies not to build social housing..deliberate interfering in the market with NAMA – the so called market that shouldn’t be interfered with, unless of course it suits.

            People will always have children. Your answer is the equivalent of saying tough, they should be born to wealthier parents before they can have children themselves.

            Upward social mobility entails providing homes & dictating policies that make housing affordable.. not an attitude of fupp off & sterilize yourself & die in the cold. It just takes a little empathy to solve the problem..it’s not rocket science.

          2. Cian

            anne, you wrote:
            “A single income family could afford to own a home a few decades back.. ”
            Can you be more precise please:
            When are you talking about? the 80s? the 90s?
            Where are you talking? Dublin? Cork? Galway? Rural areas?
            What do you mean by ‘single income’? Is this average industrial wage?
            because I don’t agree with you.. people have always struggled to buy homes in Ireland.
            Can you either provide evidence, or answer my questions so I can investigate myself.

          3. anne

            All over the country..last generation..i.e our parents – one income, & a few children & a home were afforable.

            Massive amounts of council homes were built in the 40s & 50s.. read an article from Fintan O’Toole on his own parent’s council house. It has a knock on effect making houses affordable across the property market.

            Of course it was always a struggle.. but people were not paying 50% of their income on rent.

            We have record numbers of homeless.

          4. Cian

            anne, “our parent’s generation” doesn’t help much – unless we’re all the same age :-)

            While houses were cheaper in, say the 70s and 80s; and banks restricted lending to 2.5 times earnings – you must remember that interest rates were huge. The average never dropped below 9% between 1975 and 1990 – and went as high as 16% (http://www.moneyguideireland.com/history-of-mortgage-rates-in-ireland.html)

            The real cost of these mortgages was equivalent to today’s costs.

          5. anne

            “The real cost of these mortgages was equivalent to today’s costs”

            What does that even mean?

            Are you saying the cost of interest payments at say 12% on a 20k house, is the equivalent of 4% on a 240k house? Do the math Cian.

            I’d take 12% on a 20k house any day.

          6. Cian

            “Are you saying the cost of interest payments at say 12% on a 20k house, is the equivalent of 4% on a 240k house”

            No, I’m saying 12% on a 20k when you earn 4.5K (e.g. 1978) = 4% on a 240k when you earn 30K (e.g. 2005)

            I looked at CSO data for average house prices & average industrial wages, and used that link above for average interest rates.
            I worked out how much the repayments would be for each house (based on a 20year mortgage).
            in 1975 the average house price was 12,971; wage was 2,912; interest was 11.25%, so repayments were 1,633 per year or 56% of wages.

            For each 5 years since:
            1980= house: 33K wage: 6.39K interest: 14.15% repayment: 4.96K = 77.7% of wages
            1985= house: 46.2K wage: 11.61K interest: 13% repayment: 6.49K = 55.9% of wages
            1990= house: 64K wage: 14.87K interest: 12.37% repayment: 8.65K = 58.2% of wages
            1995= house: 76.1K wage: 18.28K interest: 7% repayment: 7.08K = 38.7% of wages
            2000= house: 179.8K wage: 22.68K interest: 6.09% repayment: 15.57K = 68.6% of wages
            2005= house: 302.4K wage: 30.21K interest: 3.65% repayment: 21.33K = 70.6% of wages
            2010= house: 249.2K wage: 31.92K interest: 4.02% repayment: 18.15K = 56.9% of wages
            2015= house: 273K wage: 35.65K interest: 4.1% repayment: 20.02K = 56.2% of wages

            The % of average industrial wage that it costs to service the average house based on the average interest rate over the last 42 years is 61.5%

          7. anne

            “The % of average industrial wage that it costs to service the average house based on the average interest rate over the last 42 years is 61.5%”

            Right.. but your average rate as a percentage of income for the past 42 years only factors in new mortgages. I.e. you haven’t factored in the percent of income on mortgages for people with existing mortgages..-wages are increasing, their mortgage amount isn’t.

            Cost of living also isn’t factored in that 42 years. What percent of your income was needed for childcare in the 70s? None? As a family could manage with one working..percent of income spent on electricity, petrol, food comparatively in each decade..

          8. Cian

            anne – you’re changing the goalposts.

            To repeat myself: paying 12% interest on a 20k house when you earn 4.5K (e.g. 1978 rates) is the same as paying 4% on a 240k salary when you earn 30K (e.g. 2005 rates). As in, it costs the same percentage of your money.

            I provided details showing that when you include interest rates, that the affordability of a house hasn’t changed massively over the last 40 years – it floats up and down. And yes, I’m just looking the cost of the mortgage when it is taken out – which is when people get mortgages.

            I have show the data for a single earner – so no childcare needed – the dads can stay home and mind the children. :-)
            I could also argue that people have fewer children these days so that’s a saving! :-)

            Cost of living? I don’t know, I haven’t factored that in. And I haven’t included taxes either.

            But on the other hand the standards of living are much higher now. You’re more likely to have central heating, more likely to have a fridge, more likely to have a foreign holiday, more likely to have a car (and it probably didn’t have seatbelts in the old days!). So if you include these, then perhaps it IS harder today – but you are getting more.

            Either way, unless you provide something more than a gut feeling that “our parents had it easy” I’m going to rely on the numbers

          9. anne

            A gut feeling? I grew up in the 80s. I was around to see it Owen.. my mother didn’t work & neither did my friends’ mothers..we had a fridge & central heating. A fire heated up the boiler, which heated up the rads..which I think is classed as central heating. We had an emertion too.

            We had holidays to Greece, Spain, the U.S. We had a car. A green banger of a renaught..but it got us around. We didn’t have mobile phones & laptaps & tablets granted..but we had Ataris & Mario brothers and walkmans.

            You know well wages have stagnated & declined in real terms with inflation.

            Yeah, you’re only looking at when mortgages are taken out.. I spotted that. But you don’t dictate the goal posts sweet cheeks. I’m not arguing with your averages.. so there’s no need to go around in circles.

            You’ve not factored in a lot, like rent as a percentage of income..

            We’ll leave it at that.

          10. Cian

            anne, if you had holidays to Greece, Spain, the U.S. in the 80s then you were *very* privileged.

            Most people couldn’t afford to travel abroad. Your Da was loaded.

          11. anne

            Ha. He wasn’t loaded.
            Greece & Spain in the 80s.. U.S. in the 90s to visit the older siblings. Thems the things you can afford when your wage increases over time, therefore the percentage of your income spent on your mortgage reduces. Most of my friend’s families started going on holidays in the 80s. I don’t think they were loaded either.

          12. Cian

            Okay – I’ll agree there was huge wage increases in the 80s – so your Da would have had more disposable income.

            However, the 80s were quite awful for everyone else. Unemployment went from 9% to 19%. We even had Bob Geldof running a job-creation version of LiveAid (SelfAid – for you kids out there who are interested). And your siblings in US? did they emigrate?

            There was a similar boom in 1995 – if you bought a house then, it would be worth 136% more within 5 years – and your salary went up by 33%.

            So these things are cyclical and you can be lucky when you leave school or buy a house – or unlucky. But the cycle continues.

          13. Rob_G

            Anne arguing that Ireland was better off in the glory days of 17% unemployment, 16% interest rates, and 60% marginal income tax rate should indicate just how out of touch her pronouncements on living conditions in Ireland are.

            “if you had holidays to Greece, Spain, the U.S. in the 80s then you were *very* privileged.”
            +1, perhaps Anne’s rose-tinted spectacles stem from her own well-off upbringing.

          14. anne

            We weren’t well off… nor were we on the bread line. And there’s still high emigration.. That seems to be the answer to enriching the few at the cost of the many in this country.

          15. anne

            I never said we were better off by the way, but I think things are harder for younger people these says, with things like the cost of rent.

        2. anne

          You probably don’t realise that there are people who have jobs who are homeless.

          Maybe you’re new to the country but rents are also not affordable.

          1. Cian

            @jusayinlike I don’t know is Leo is doing enough.
            The current situation is awful. And it needs to be fixed. But there isn’t a simple solution.
            We are currently spending €1,500,000,000 on housing each year – so is Leo doing something? Yes.
            There are almost 10,000 homeless: Is he doing enough? No
            Can he (or anyone) do enough to fix this problem? I don’t know. Possibly over 5-15 years.

            I suppose he could totally fupp up the economy, which would cause mass emigration, which would solve the housing crisis. Like in anne’s “good old days”. But I don’t like that option.

          2. anne

            Building social housing won’t mess up the economy… for someone who insists on evidence, you come out with some unsubstantiated horsepoo ja know that.

          3. Cian

            @anne “Building social housing won’t mess up the economy…”
            I never said otherwise. What I did say it that it would take 5-15 years to fix. If he started a major push on building social housing I’m guessing it would take 5-15 years before you would see the effects. And I have stated repeatedly on BS that the solution to the housing crisis (both house prices and the current massive rents) is to build more homes.

            I’m sorry, I was being facetious when I mentioned messing up the economy. it was badly worded. Having a rubbish economy has been the traditional solution for Ireland in the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. Export our people so we don’t have to house them here.

        3. Killian G


          I wish all the do-gooders on here would explain why single mothers do not simply put their children into one of the many excellent state-provided childcare facilities and then go to work

          1. Anomanomanom

            So why don’t they get the other parent to pay their way. Oh wait its a case of “I don’t know who the da is”, there is only 2 ways that can happen. 1 is the baby was a result of rape where the rapist was never found, thats not the women or babies fault and 2, the woman slept with so many men in the period of time before she got pregnant she has no clue who the da is. That’s her fault. The state should not have to pay for her having so much unprotected sex.

  10. dav

    Brilliant rebuttal of scumbag skeehan by the chairman of Focus Ireland on yesterday’s Drivetime.
    Skeehan had no evidence to back up his attack on the homeless – though I suspect leo’s propaganda dept had a say.
    More evidence of a concerted effort by the blushirts to victim blame and generate hatred of the homeless.

    1. Go A Way

      Yeah I heard that also dav

      He did a great job and the questioning from Wilson was nothing short of despicable

  11. Murtles

    Wouldn’t put too much credence in what Murphy says considering he told all homeless people to stay indoors during the storm yesterday. Where Eoghan? Penneys?

    1. everyone in ireland

      There is enough emergency accommodation for all homeless. Often people choose not to stay in it because of personal safety or wishing to avoid being near drug users (if they are themselves in recovery).

    2. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

      Penneys? Urgh. BTs, surely. Spray on some Jo Malone, have a nice comfy weewee.
      Maybe I should be put in charge of homelessness. I’m chock full of bonnes idées.

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