Bricks And Morto


Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy


In the Irish Mail on Sunday.

The newspaper’s political correspondent Craig Hughes reported that Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin had accused Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy of “manipulating social housing figures“.

It followed Mr Murphy saying on Friday that 10,000 social homes were provided last year – 6,545 new builds, 1,325 “acquisitions” and 2,130 houses “that local authorities and approved housing bodies acquired through long-term leases”.

Mr Murphy has said that, if he’s re-elected, 60,000 social houses will be delivered over the next five years.

However, Mr Hughes reported that Mr Ó Broin has called this pledge into question, writing:

But Deputy Ó Broin claimed that Minister Murphy is wrong to include more than 2,000 homes that had been acquired through long-term leasing.

According to the deputy, social houses acquired through long-terms leasing should not be included in the social housing delivery figures.

“In 2016 the cross party Housing and Homelessness Committees’ report very clearly defined social housing as housing that is owned by the council or AHB [approved housing body]. It’s only Minister Murphy and his Government that defines social housing any differently.”

Mr Ó Broin was reported as saying:

“The owner of a long-term lease property can withdraw, so you can’t categorise it as social housing as it is not owned by the local authority or approved housing body and ends up costing the taxpayer two to three times the price.”

Mr Hughes reported that the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland plan pledged to deliver 25,000 new homes (private and social) every years between 2017 and 2021 but that it failed to reach its target every year.

He also reported that the number of new homes built in 2019 is estimated to be between 20,000 and 21,000 but the final figures have yet to be released.

In addition, Mr Hughes reported that although a spokesman for Mr Murphy had pledged to provide Mr Hughes with a breakdown of the latest social housing figures – which were finalised last week – no figures were provided.

The spokesman said Mr Ó Broin’s comments were “regrettable” and misleading, adding: “Long-term leases are for 20-30 years with an option to renew. They are social houses and as secure as any other”.



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21 thoughts on “Bricks And Morto

  1. Qwerty123

    Completely agree with Ó Broin, long term leasing is a transfer of public money to private, at the end f the 20 years the council wont own the property, what a waste.

    This is becoming very commonplace too with large blocks and sections of new developments being let directly or sold to a fund then let back to the council, either direct or indirectly (via hap type schemes)

    FG seem to be ok with this.

      1. Qwerty123

        No, rather than paying the guts of 500k in renting a 4 bed house to a private landlord in Dublin over 20 years, maybe they should engage in building properties that they keep as stock, not sell on.

        Pretty clear to which is the better option. Councils maintain 1,000’s of properties as it. They have the expertise and are best placed to do this. Better than unprofessional private landlords who don’t seem to know their obligations imo.

          1. Qwerty123

            Ah, thanks even worse value than I thought then.

            Council still needs all the staff for day to day stuff, but at the end they still wont even own it.

    1. A Person

      Its generally a 35 year lease, and the state do not have the cost of building the houses. The usual lease is that an Approved Housing Body manage the property without a capital cost. It is a model that works for both sides, I know this does not fit your stance, but it does work very successfully here and in other countries. The ideology of the left re social housing has been proved wrong all over the country. Name onelarge social housing development, managed by local authorities that has been successful?

  2. V

    The long term leasing only works outside Dublin, and Cork City

    Properties that have a better Rental Yield than equity in a market sale

    It can introduce larger accomodation units for larger families on the list, and also properties that provide better access / be adapted for families with Special Needs.

    While the Voluntary Housing Assoc or the Local Authority don’t ultimately own the freehold asset, the leasehold is a valuable resource for Social Housing.

    I think it’s probably time now to extract Dublin’s housing and accomodation crisis from the rest of the country and manage it with a different plan and under an isolated budget.

    A national strategy is a waste if time for Dublin, yet this is what Eoghan Murphy’s Housing Agency and Fine Gael’s Strategy ( if they have one) are working off.

    Ah, lookit, none of them have the solutions, patience or courage to touch this ‘rail’,
    All they have are the talking points and the pointing fingers at what and who is to blame.

    We’re all to blame – our indigenous need to own property, and our propensity for Financial Greed, along with our inherent blind-eye.

    1. scottser

      long-term leasing here is very attractive for foreign pension funds. you’d wonder why on earth the government don’t invest in it themselves.

      1. Cian

        wonder why on earth the government don’t invest in it themselves

        The same reason that a lot of tenants don’t buy. Yes it is cheaper in the long run, but you need extra cash up front to do it and you need to take on a large debt. Or in the government’s case – we would need to add to the already huge National Debt.

        1. V

          But shur’ we’re always going to be adding to it anyway
          It’s not like it’s going to get any smaller

          So for once, use the National Debt to build housing and treat housing as a Strategic National investment;
          and not have the National Debt used to service ridiculous pensions, payoffs, and salaries, pay historical debts from failed banking activities and dodgy decisions, be the guarantor of failed regulators and bad public sector managers by covering the cost for their short term self serving opportunism, and subsequent tribunals.

          Neither Fine Gael nor Fianna Fail, and especially Labour give a snot about the National Debt, and they are all prepared to lean on it because it will be there for their own pockets too.

          So use it to bloody build something we can actually see out of the ground, something that is future proofing the Country for the generations that didn’t have anything to do with the last 20 odd years.

          Our National Debt needs to work for us now, and not just be used to pay historical dead end debts and commitments that no longer work for us or contribute.

          Invest in changing our ways and in how we do things.

          1. A Person

            I much wiser decision would be fund more Approved Housing Bodies rather then local authorities who are ill-equipped to building houses, and more importantly managing them. The state has to provide 100% of funding for building and managing properties, whereas AHB only get tops 30% capital funding but have proved to be very successful in managing properties. I know, this does not suit the left bang wagon narrative.

          2. V

            The VHAs/AHBs are already funded (60% of purchase price)

            The wiser decision is to allow VHAs/AHBs buy direct from families instead of the Mortgage Banks the families were forced to surrender their homes to to progress into the Mortgage to Rent scheme

            Prior to Eoghan Murphy, VHAs/ AHBs were allowed buy direct – with the homeowners Bank’s agreement, and the Local Authority, by way of an assisted voluntary sale AVS.

            When that was permitted VHA/ AHBs were buying at way cheaper prices, leaving the balance they had to fund themselves via finance (40%) more likely to be serviced by the Differential Rent collected from the former owners now Tenants.

            And that was just one massive benefit, the other, the former owners also had a Solicitor acting for them throughout the entire conveyance, now under the current MTR regime demanded by The Housing Agency, a solicitor only has to witness their signatures on the surrender document.

            I’ve seen a sale agreed at 130k via VAS with KBC that eventually travelled up to over 160k plus an additional 10k plus in costs because the Housing Agency insisted the VHA pay the higher price to secure the 60% funding.
            And its not just cynical to say that its another form of Bank Bailout, the fact that the VHA/AHB has to borrow more money – that differential rent in most cases can’t cover puts what we already have and what we are now working with at Risk.

            Its not if, but when a VHA/AHB go into liquidation, see who buys their housing stock from the Liquidator. Don’t wait on a tribunal.

            There is absolutely no reason why Cooperative Housing schemes shouldn’t be more enabled, be a choice and become a norm ; other than vested interest(s)
            And there is absolutely no reason why long term letting from Cooperative Housing/ Trusts shouldn’t be more enabled, be a choice and become a norm ; other than vested interest(s)

            We have the skills and the expertise to manage Social and Affordable/ Co-Ownership/ Cooperative Housing, we even have the capitol available.
            But it is still all only to the Banks and the Vulture funds benefit.

            Any Politican that knocks on your doors, as them if they think HAP is the best answer to our lack of Social Housing infrastructure

            Footnote : Ye do know that there are VHAs/ AHBs that are bank and vulture fund backed – don’t ye?

    2. BobbyJ

      “We’re all to blame – our indigenous need to own property, and our propensity for Financial Greed, along with our inherent blind-eye”

      Completely untrue and akin to the infamous “we all partied” line.

      1. V

        We also means

        Voting for non FFFG Candidates yet that’s what we’ll end up with

        Aka the Royal We

        We all partied yeah we did
        We elected a Fine Gael Government yeah we did

        1. Cian

          Nope. There is a difference between:
          “We’re to blame” and “We’re all to blame”

          “We elected a Fine Gael Government” and “We all elected a Fine Gael Government”

          1. V


            We accept and obey the outcome of Democracy
            that makes it all We

            And make no mistake lads, We are the ones doing the electing around here

        2. BobbyJ

          Nonsense, you said “We’re all to blame” and it is patently untrue.

          This housing crisis belongs to those who support a for profit/commodity based property market and those who have denigrated the idea of building social housing at every turn. They are responsible for the suffering.

          1. V

            No no no now

            We are responsible for our unnatural desire to acquire property and own our homes – the property ladder is a fact of life that’s bred into us

            How many times have you heard about neighbouring residents and residents associations objecting to social housing
            and or looking down their noses at housing developments that contain a quota of Social Housing Units
            Or the blind eye to Developers buying themselves out of the Social Housing provision conditions of their planning permission

            We are snobs when it come to owning versus renting our homes –
            Even worse when it comes to social housing

            Still – in this day and age, renting is only a stop gap when in College or starting out and still single etc, before buying, and that mindset is nonsense and unhealthy and promises another boom to bust, rather than long term tenancy options, and wide scale Cooperative Housing schemes

            So yes, We are to blame

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