‘Nobody Has A Free House’


Last night.

On TV3’s Virgin Media One’s Tonight show, hosted by Ivan Yates and outgoing editor of the Sunday Business Post Ian Kehoe…

Clare O’Connor, of Inner City Helping Homeless, and Niall Boylan, of the Niall Boylan Show on 4FM, spoke about people who are homeless and the idea people just want “free houses”.

Watch back in full here


104 thoughts on “‘Nobody Has A Free House’

  1. Daisy Chainsaw

    I was raised in an estate full of “free houses”. The rent man came around every week, rain, hail or shine, to collect the payment to allow my family to remain in our “free house”. Idiots who spew on about “free houses” really don’t have the first clue, do they?

    1. Tom

      They absolutely are free.
      Charging €200 per month on a place that rents for 2k on the open market is free. Especially if the money used to pay that “rent” is given for free.
      Then of course many don’t even bother paying this amount and nothing is done about it. How much arrears are the various councils owed?

      1. Daisy Chainsaw

        How is €200pm “free”?

        Do you have stats to back up the “non payment” allegation?

          1. Daisy Chainsaw

            Some people in public housing don’t pay their rent, therefore all people in public housing don’t pay their rent. Hmm… logic deficit there.

            Do you resent other people having things that you don’t? If you were offered a “free house” by Dublin CoCo tomorrow, would you take it, or turn your nose up at it?

          2. Cian

            “Of the close to 24,000 tenancies in Dublin City Council, 6,300 or 26% are in arrears to the value of 12 weeks rent or more.”

          3. Rob_G

            BS should update the headline to:

            At least 6,300 people in Dublin alone have free* houses

            *which of course, they aren’t actually free – they are paid for by everyone else, on top of the rent/mortgage for their own houses

          4. Rob_G

            Indeed it would a multiple of 6,300, but I couldn’t really fit that into a snappy headline, which is why I went with ‘at least’.

          1. millie st murderlark

            No, they are. Let’s keep perpetuating the stereotype that anyone who needs assistance with housing is clearly a lazy git who is out for all they can get.

      2. Nigel

        Comparing an affordable rent with the current dysfunctional rental market is ridiculous because the current rental market is a complete ongoing disaster

          1. Daisy Chainsaw

            There are hard working people in social housing too. Probably working harder than the middle classes with entitlement complexes.

      3. HS

        Maybe the problem is the overpriced 2k houses rather than reasonably priced municipal housing, maybe you should be angry at the ‘market’ i.e. structural landlordism that is proven to be the most expensive and worst method of housing, rather than the empirically better and cheaper municipal solution, in Vienna people from all walks of life live in Municipal housing (and pay for it), rent is way way cheaper and the quality of housing better, that’s the only viable solution to landlordism, boom bust and people paying half their income for sub standard accommodation.

    2. ollie

      I was raised in a council estate. At the time the houses were rented by people wheo work, but due to a variety of reasons (selling off rental stock, cancelling LA building schemes) the only “free houses” available now are for those whose only income is welfare.

      not sure what to think, I had a HAP tenant recently who i was happy to rent to, depsite my reservations. She stayed for 3 months and left, having forged a letter to HAP from me stating that I was selling up. She then got a 3 bed house for her, her partner and her 2 kids. Absolutley destroyed my apartment and didn’t care because Focus Ireland had paid her deposit. Same girl works and pays tax, her partner has 2 jobs and pays no tax.

      You can;t tar everyone with the same brush, however one bad egg really can wreck things for everyone

  2. curmudgeon

    I dont know why you captioned a tweet disparaging Niall Boylan when the clip has Clare O’Connor claiming that “this idea that they get a free house is wrong, they have to pay rent”. Niall Boylan: “And where do they get the money for that rent?” Says it all.

    If Inner city city homeless want to be taken seriously they should stop using Margaret Cash as their cause célèbre and get real about what are in fact free houses.

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      My parents got the rent money from my dad’s wages. Not everyone in a “free house” is long term unemployed, a lot are working but because wages are so rubbish, they qualify for the means test threshold.

  3. Kevin Quinn

    Before we get too high up on the horse about this, we should acknowledge rather than deny that in some cases people *do* get a free house, like when they have no income of their own at a particular time, and they get social welfare payments from one part of the State out of which they then pay a nominal rent to another part of the State. Other people get a free police service when they need it. Other people get free education when they need it. There’s nothing wrong with this, is there? The alternative seems cruel…

    1. missred

      “Free police service” – who on earth pays for police services that you have to set apart folks who get it for free (ie everyone)?

  4. Marj

    Not getting into the issue of housing, this just sounds like a standard debate to me not some man shouting over a woman because he’s part of the boys club

    1. curmudgeon

      Yep essentially its someone unfairly disparaging Niall Boylan. Throwing in sexism there too because Daithi (whoever he is) doesn’t like what Niall has to say, in a debate. Broadsheet happy to post that of course.

    2. rotide


      There’s hardly any shouting and they’re talking over each other.

      The attempt to somehow make this about sexism is idiotic

  5. Col

    Homelessness is only ONE symptom of the problem, which is undersupply.
    The government need to be held to account on increasing supply.
    This will help homelessness, working families, individuals and the people who rely on social housing.
    In a normal functioning economy, all housing should be affordable, at different levels, according to incomes.

    Saying “people don’t deserve free houses” etc. is letting government off the hook.

          1. Tom

            Yes doubled since 2000. An argument, time scale and rate. Of course I know this of the top of my head because I’m acrually well informed unlike you. Have a look at the cso if you don’t believe me.

      1. Col

        “Is there undersupply?”
        “The housing market is certainly under-supplied – otherwise prices and rents would not be rising so rapidly. But this discussion highlights the difficulty in measuring under-supply. At one extreme the gap between output and the annual housing requirement could be 42,000 units (53,000 – 11,000). But I believe the deficit is about half of this (35,000 – 14,000 = 21,000 units).”

        “21,500 homes would be completed this year and 24,000 would be build in 2019, both figures were well below the 30,000 to 50,000 new households estimated as being formed each year.”

        “Initiative Ireland Housing 2031 report shows 4 times more new houses need to be built in 2018 compared to last year”

        “480,000 new homes needed across Ireland by 2031, with 34,000 new units needed per annum and with 50% of them for the Dublin area”

        There are dozens more articles and reports outlining the issue. They don’t all come up with the same figures, but they agree there is undersupply.

    1. Rob

      This will only get sorted when the state decides to build on mass. When this happens, the private sector will stop building. There wont be any money in it for them.
      The fact is that the state, and NAMA missed a step over the last 10 years not taking these assets under government control. now we sold these at a discount, and have the problems we are having.
      I’m sure there is an OECD average state build completed per year that we could compare ourselves to.

      1. Cian

        Do you know what assets that NAMA had that would have been suitable for mass builds?
        As far as I can tell a lot of NAMA assets were outside Ireland (about 1/3); and of the Irish assets a lot was office/hotel/shopping centre/other commercial.

        And of the residential they go, a lot was random fields in Leitrim, and other ghost estates; or apartments. Did they get any decent greenfield site suitable for mass social houses in/near any of the major cities?

        1. johnny

          The value in NAMA wasn’t nor was it ever in green fields, which bizarrely you appear obsessed with.
          The value was the in-fill sites that developers took years assembling, they are office buildings/hotels etc than can be redeveloped-like Apollo House,regarding sites NAMA closed this week on a sale to JR in Dublins docklands that can accommodate 500 apts.
          Constantly evoking ‘green fields’ is indicative off a lack of knowledge in this area-this is me being polite !

          1. Cian

            Rob suggested that NAMA had lands suitable for mass builds. Yes, I asked if these were green field sites – which has traditionally been the norm in Ireland for mass builds.

            You suggest NAMA had “in-fill” sites. Which I would think are not suitable for large developments. Nothing you say suggests that NAMA sold off properties that would have been suitable for tens of thousands of units – which is what we need to solve the housing crisis.

            And I mentioned green field sites once. I’m not sure why you suggest I’m obsessed with them. You mentioned then twice.

          2. johnny

            You conflate development with green fields constantly, a hybrid approach or a holistic one is required to solve FG’s absolutely awful non housing policies,which has resulted in defections from the party.

            There’s lot info on NAMA’s holdings,NAMA was a asset management company mandated with maximizing the value of its assets, it failed and is a disaster again under the direction of FG-it reports to the Min of Fin.

            Which part are you struggling with ?

            Read this and get back to me-its Friday eve off watch Yankees win.


          3. Cian

            You conflate development with green fields constantly
            really? when? show me.
            ,NAMA was a asset management company mandated with maximizing the value of its assets yes. Two things:
            1. it due to make 3bn+ profit. I also remember 2009 – and everyone was saying that NAMA would be a huge failure and make massive losses?
            2. putting social housing in high-value “in-fill” sites in Dublin wouldn’t maximize value.

            thanks for the link. interesting reading:
            – From the start of 2014 to end-March 2018, the Agency had funded the delivery of 7,190 new residential units countrywide (almost 2500 are social housing)
            – in Ireland only 28% of disposals to date have been residential
            So they have been mostly selling retail (24%), office (21%), Hotel (8%) and other 7%. There was 12% Land & development – which is (I assume) a mix of residential & commercial.

            your turn. Explain how NAMA has been bad, and how it could have been better.

          4. johnny

            Cian-when you don’t kick of treads negative on SF you know i enjoy our exchanges, so in keeping with that and bear in mind its game 1 Yankees V Red Sox shortly:)

            where did it all go wrong for NAMA !

            They took an extremely adversarial position to the point that they have no relationships with their clients-they pivoted into a debt collation and liquidation agency.

            This was due to political pressure from Noonan/FG and appointing a tax collector and lifetime NTMA employee,their most senior real estate exec was an estate agent, or the hired help who had only ever built sandcastles.

            It went downhill from there….

            Numbers-the categories are misleading-Apollo House is that a office building ?
            No its a development project,most the value was in assembled and ready to go redevelopments.

            to be continued…..

          5. Cian

            I’m not going there. You keep insulting me. You ask questions, and when I reply – you go off on a tangent. And then you try to completely re-write history. You accuse me of not knowing about NAMA and then you write:
            They took an extremely adversarial position […]
            This was due to political pressure from Noonan/FG and appointing a tax collector and lifetime NTMA employee

            Who is this tax-collector & lifetime NTMA employee? Brendan McDonagh – who was appointed in 2009 by FF. Now you’ll try to spin this and say you meant someone else, or ignore this post, or go off on a tangent.

            So I’m out. I’m not going to engage with you on these if you continue to insult me, to politicalise everything, to accuse me of saying things I didn’t, and going on tangents when you are losing.

          6. johnny

            oh he’s just the Chairman
            why would I waste my time engaging with you when you don’t even know this !

            “Frank Daly was appointed as a Public Interest Director of Anglo Irish Bank in December 2008. He resigned from this post on 22nd December 2009 when appointed Chairman of NAMA by the Minister for Finance. Mr Daly retired as Chairman of the Revenue Commissioners in March 2008 having been Chairman since 2002 and a Commissioner since 1996. He had joined Revenue in 1963. In March 2008, Mr Daly was appointed Chairman of the Commission on Taxation which was set up to review the structure and efficiency of the Irish taxation system; the Commission issued its Report in September 2009. ”

    2. Iwerzon

      Greed, it’s also greed. In 2010 my landlord pleaded for me to stay in my lovely one bedroom apartment on the Quays and offered to lower my Euro 1,125 per month rent. I moved into a 2 bed house for similar rent. Today the same landlord is getting twice what I was paying for the same flat. His situation hasn’t changed just his rental income by 100% profit. Ah, it’s the market I know. But who sets the market rate but greedy landlords.

      1. Rob_G

        “But who sets the market rate but greedy landlords.”

        Well, actually demand sets the market rate; your landlord could have been very greedy and insisted upon €3k per month in 2010, but very unlikely that he could find anyone to pay it. The same market forces that are now forcing rents up are the same ones that were then pushing rents down; I don’t think that it because of his good nature that the landlord was reducing the rent then.

  6. Bort

    It’s easy how housing divides people, very basic scenarios. I grew up in house where both my parents worked, paid a mortgage and money was pretty tight but we didn’t want for much, a holiday to Court town in the summer, the regular tv channels etc. We barely saw my ould lad because he was working quite a distance from where we lived. A lot of my pals and school friends lived in council houses, 5 minutes from my house, pretty much the same size. Most of their parents did work but cash jobs (prob wouldn’t get away with it now) bar work, cleaning, construction etc but they still claimed their social for sure. These families had far more disposable income than we did, Christmas was like Disneyland compared to my gaff. Actually some of their parents would sneer at me because my parents were working and they’d say “well for some”. They had Sky and were off to Santa Ponsa every year. I couldn’t get over the fact that both their parents were at home when they got home from school, they could actually have dinner together. Nothing has changed today, if you’re a couple breaking your balls to save for a mortgage or half your salary going on child care and you barely get to see your kids or are in fear of even having more or any kids, the Margaret Cash’s in this world are going to rub you up the wrong way. I was at the protest on Wednesday and it pained me to see her on the cover of every newspaper as if she represents the housing crisis. Bitter much? Yes I am. Of course there’s no free houses anymore but it’s a narrative that easily divides people. The squeezed middle are getting a constant bollock kicking. The Indo are stirring it big time with these misleading stories of homelessness week in week out, a lot are clear attempts to skip the queue, a quick search on social media can rumble half these stories.

    1. SOQ

      That’s fair enough but the reality is that there is a a large number of families living in hotel rooms who though no fault of their own are just the victims of circumstance. Suitability aside, the cost of keeping them there is crazy money.

      This and previous governments had a deliberate policy of not building social housing and only now are they conceding that the lack of such has had a detrimental impact on everyone’s lives.

      1. Paulus

        I can identify with Bort’s arguments completely:
        Plus it’s nice, and rare, to see a case presented without recourse to the tirade of insults that often accompanies arguments here.

        1. SOQ

          So do I. This idea of them and us is essentially a right wing agenda. 16 % of all housing stock in NI is social which while higher than GB is a pretty good indication of the difference between the two countries.

          If you want to, you can see gaming and scams but the bottom line is that people have to live somewhere and imo, by far, the gaming and scams are by those who own double digit properties.

          Completely agree on the civility point but it won’t last long as unfortunately you are not allowed to have grown up conversations on this site.

          1. Rob_G

            “16 % of all housing stock in NI is social… “

            The north also needs about £10bn per annum from Blighty to keep the lights on; I don’t think that their socio-economic model is something that other countries should emulate.

          2. Rob_G

            “This idea of them and us is essentially a right wing agenda.”

            I think that characterising it thus is a left-wing agenda; there are people who are net contributors to the moneypot, and people who are net recipients. While I think most net contributors are fine with paying for schools and hospitals and old-age pensioners and whatever, they may be irked at the idea that their money is being used for able-bodied adults who should be, at the very least, paying their own way.

          3. SOQ

            I don’t have the figures to hand but from memory GB is about 4% lower than NI which is still at least 4 times more than here. I expect mainland Europe is likewise.

            First world countries have a welfare system for a reason, to ensure some semblance of wealth balance and Ireland is no different. But, the inference that people who are homeless or in need of social housing are scroungers is lazy stereotyping. You pay for social housing according to your means, it is not free. The narrative of something for nothing ignores the fact that we are a society and this housing emergency is skewing accommodation costs even in places like Ballsbridge.

            Every time our rent goes up and everytime that house price on daft.ie goes up is a direct result of government failure to do its job. If you want to look at those gaming the system then look no further than how state sector tenders are dished out.

      2. Bort

        True, majority of people are concerned about the vulnerable members of society and people need help, there still too remains a certain level entitlement in every walk of life. Like is it my right to own my own home someday or should I just be happy to able to rent and have a roof over my head. Probably entitled myself. But you can only look out for others so much eventually you have to say what about me? People facing homelessness face serious anxiety, so do people working and paying high rents. My landlord could have me out in 6 months. I’d be fecked to find anything similar for the same price. Should we have a child before we’re mortgage approved I’m fecked. If we’ve then to stay renting we’ve no long term protection and then child care will hoover up any savings we have. I can telling you I have anxiety about my housing situation every single day.

          1. johnny

            Oh for FFs go relive your childhood somewhere else,disneyland at the council estate but it was dickens at the private one-get a therapist.

          2. johnny

            yeah,why can’t we have more touching trips down memory lane to a fantasy land, where the council estate is like Disneyland with evening family dinners, meanwhile over at the private estate the latch key kids are making do…..

          3. Papi

            That’s the same thing two different ways. You know you’re supposed to put in a different name to agree with yourself? Amateur.

          4. johnny

            or maybe because I actually have something to say that may upset the more fragile around here im heavily moderated, whats your excuse for being a d**k,early childhood trauma too over no da for dinner ?

          5. millie st murderlark

            Johnny, there might be a reason they have you so heavily moderated.

            Keep a civil tongue in your mouth or I’ll cut it off ;>

          6. Papi

            Naw, sunshine, slugs like you hiding behind their weak “I have something to say” whilst really just being ignorant and very, very angry. Let it out john.

          7. Papi

            Good comeback. Sharp. Witty. If this is the “something to say” that lands you in moderation, we have little to worry about.

          8. johnny

            Millie-i absolutely deserve and should be heavily moderated, its any wonder i haven’t been banned:)
            The diatribe was thinly veiled attack on the working class.
            few lowlights-
            ‘Most of their parents did work but cash jobs”
            ” but they still claimed their social for sure”
            “These families had far more disposable income than we did, Christmas was like Disneyland”
            “They had Sky and were off to Santa Ponsa every year”
            ” I couldn’t get over the fact that both their parents were at home when they got home from school”

            get over it !

            -looks like we lost Big Papi,perhaps the nurse is changing him…..

  7. DepthChargeEthel

    This notion of the middle class striving to pay for mortgages, therefore being better than those who live in public housing is a world away from my life experiences. I grew up in a council house, we moved in the year I was born 1976, before that my parents (dad working in a “middle class” profession going by commentators perceptions here) lived in a trailer park provided by Dublin County Council (as it was then) to house the future tenants of the estate while it was built. We would have been perceived as a more “middle class” family because my Dad had a job/profession but we paid rent to the council like all the other people, apart from those who bought their gafs off the council. In fact our neighbours who thought we were fancy cos we always had a car (which my dad needed for his work) bought their house from the council long before I was even aware that the council were selling off the housing stock to the tenants. There were myriad different life experiences in the estate: people where one parent worked full time, people where both parents worked, single parents, long-term unemployed, huge families, small families, families with for want of a better term more social problems than others, families who kept to themselves, and so on. Funnily enough there was never a perception that anyone was getting a free house or gaming the system; I was certainly of the perception that the council built the houses because people need somewhere to live not due to their class tier in society. Rent was proportional to your income so you paid rent according to what you earned, still the case for council tenants.
    People who got/get mortgages and bought/buy houses are not better or more deserving than people who live in council estates. I have no idea what the criteria to secure a tenancy were in the mid-70s but like I said my dad had a job in a profession, which he had gone to university to qualify for (typically perceived as middle class in nowadays terms). My understanding was that this public housing was built and filled according to need. Consequently if you weren’t in the economic business of trying to preserve some kind of middle class social position by scrimping and saving to get a mortgage to buy a private house (like a good middle class citizen) then you were able to get on the housing list (according to certain criteria) for what was then good quality public housing. That was the last reasonably largescale and well-built public/council housing that I am aware of. Standards in building provision plummeted from then on and then our lovely centrist rightist governments reclassified council housing as welfare schemes that the good thinking middle classes could turn their noses up at and look down on. There is no pride in dealing with banks, engaging with the capitalist system to uphold some modicum of where you think you ought to sit in the tiers of society/social strata. Y’all been fooled by their class politics BS and by the sounds of things y’all are happy to continue to go along this trajectory. Classist fools!

  8. Ollie Cromwell

    Another pointless shoutfest about housing where no-one mentions the word immigration because of the backlash they fear from the Twitchforkers Alliance.

          1. johnny

            Are you that insecure intellectually that you require constant validation,by pointing out and picking up any and all grammar mistakes. “Sunshine”,that’s a bit of a tell regarding your education and class or lack off lil papa or do you prefer ‘daddy’ ?
            The grammar police are always looking for another boring oul fella,with an inferiority complex…..

      1. scottser

        What will we do with all those illegal, non EU immigrants from the ghettos of sunderland, rotherham, carlisle and swansea after brexit, ollie? Round em up and ship em back for the lazy, work shy, drug addicted criminals we all know them to be?

    1. Why it’s so hard


      Yes we have far too many thick Brits over here fleeing like drowned rats from Brexit and knife crime


  9. Mary

    I can’t understand how so many are given houses for little or nothing , while others who are breaking their backs working hard are being offered scraps of houses for ridiculous money. Its a very unfair system.

    We should be building more houses for those willing to work hard and pay for them.

    1. SOQ

      We should be building more houses full stop Mary. Every one is a victim here, including those paying obscene rents to gouging landlords and 50% tax to government.

          1. Johnny

            Take your time Big Papi,hope this is not a hit and run job,back it up boy !
            Who “else” do you think I am sushinse ?
            The refuge of the weak and mindless,smears and accusations that you can’t back up.
            Stick to the boys Papi,

          2. Papi

            I honestly don’t keep track of your cowardice, john, it doesn’t really affect me half as much as you seem to want it to.

          3. johnny

            Lost me-can you try rephrase that ?
            You accused me of being the ‘same eejit,different name’ it would be considerable reasonable sunshine to ask you too elaborate!
            Regarding cowards you made a cowardly accusation that you can’t back up,but yeah I post under multiple names here-given I can hardly get my own comments up,its stretching it a bit to think I have the time or interest but carry on boy.

          4. Papi

            Which part did I lose you on, john? You seem deeply upset, are you ok? I’d hate to think I caused it.

          5. johnny

            Seriously lil papi,I’m embarrassed for you at this point,put down the shovel….
            You have nothing to say, ever why would i assume it would be any different, you made a cowardly accusation that you can’t back up,but yeah
            great comeback-yawn!

      1. Ian-O

        Sure Rob, sure.

        Way worse than denying that people have died on our streets, but then you and him read from the same alt right playbook.

        1. Rob_G

          If you disagree with the man, why don’t you call him out over his opinions, rather than taking cheap-shots at his appearance?

          1. johnny

            when you go on the late late plugging your hair/hair things you open yourself up for ridicule.he’s complained that fellow radio ‘stars’ tease him constantly about his fake hair ,or hair plugs,extensions,wig….
            he has also claimed that his da may have been a priest but i won’t touch that one…….

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