Tag Archives: Eoghan Murphy

Social Democrats TDs Catherine Murphy, Róisín Shortall, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, Fianna Fáil TD Darragh O’Brien; Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin with his FF colleagues during last night’s vote in the Dáil

This morning.

On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Fianna Fáil TD Darragh O’Brien defended his party colleagues abstaining from last night’s no confidence motion against the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy.

The party’s leader Mícheál Martin didn’t attend the debate but did appear when the vote was taking place.

The motion was defeated by 56 votes to 53 while 35 TDs abstained.

Independent TDs Michael Lowry, Noel Grealish and Denis Naughten all voted against the motion.

He repeated what he told the Dáil last night – that the motion “one way or another is not going to house one person or take one person off the homeless list”.

He then had the following exchange with broadcaster Rachel English.

Rachel English: “…by voting the way you did last night, by abstaining, weren’t you effectively supporting and facilitating a policy that you believe has failed?”

Darragh O’Brien: “No, we weren’t. We were very clear. Early last week my party leader said it, and I said it too, that we were abstaining in the national interest, to ensure that there wasn’t going to be Christmas general election.

“And I think people have been very clear about that. So, you know, it’s not a question of us supporting Government housing policy, we don’t. We have put forward alternatives on a regular basis.

“We’ve negotiated budgets, where we’ve negotiated a fund for affordable purchase for first-time buyers.

“We want to put home ownership back at the centre of the solutions to this housing crisis and get the thousands of people who are on the housing waiting list – get them housed and get their families housed.”

English: “And in the meantime then, is it your policy that Rebuilding Ireland should be scrapped?”

O’Brien: “Rebuilding Ireland isn’t working. And Fianna Fáil has a different plan. And we’ve published that. We’ve published our affordable purchase plan. We’ve published legislation.

“So the idea Government say that Opposition don’t publish and hasn’t brought forward alternatives…”

English: “So you believe Rebuilding Ireland should be scrapped? It’s failed?”

O’Brien: “If the public were good enough to elect us at the general election early next year, we will have a different housing plan that would not be Rebuilding Ireland.”

English: “Just to pick up on something you said there, you said ‘an election early next year’, does that mean that May is too late?”

O’Brien: “No I don’t think. Micheal Martin was clear yesterday when we had our press conference and he said ‘look, probably the natural end to this will be after the Easter recess’ so you’re looking at an April/May election. And that would be I think a disorderly wind-down of Government would potentially be in everyone’s interest, in everybody’s interest, to allow the public, you know, have their say, and I want…”

English: “A disorderly wind-down or an orderly wind-down?”

O’Brien: “Orderly, sorry, orderly would be the preference. But look events and that in the future, who knows. But what we want is the public to have their say on Fine Gael’s failed housing policy.

Talk over each other

English: “You’re talking about an April/May election and not before that?”

O’Brien: “Sorry, Rachel?”

English: “You’re talking about an April/May election ideally, as far as your concerned?”

O’Brien: “That is, as Micheal Martin, has outlined and we’ve been very clear and honest with people over the last couple of years in relation to where we’ve been and we’ve seen this through and it’s been difficult sometimes.

“There may have been shorter term party political gain to be gleaned by running to the country earlier but we haven’t done that.

“We’ve put the national interest first and that’s what we’ll continue to do and we look forward to fighting a general election early next year when we put forward our alternatives and let the public have their say on Eoghan Murphy and Simon Harris and failed health and housing policies.”

English: “All right, thank you very much…”

O’Brien:

Listen back in full here

Meanwhile…

Last night.

Sinn Féin TD Mark Ward, who secured the Dublin Mid-West seat in last week’s by-election, told the Dáil that the normalisation of the housing crisis is “not normal”.

He said it’s “not normal” to have almost 4,000 children spending Christmas in temporary accommodation.

He said it’s “not normal” for adult children to live with their kids in a back room belong to their parents and to have three generations living under one roof.

In a message directed at the two Fianna Fáil TDs – Pádraig O’Sullivan and Malcolm Byrne – who were also elected last week, he said: “You did not get elected to sit on your hands.”

He urged support for the motion, saying “that’s normal”.

Meanwhile…

Last night: 10,514 But Confidence Remains

Tonight.

Earlier…

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy in the Dáil chamber tonight

Earlier:

Tonight.

The Soc Dem motion of no confidence in Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy is debated.

Earlier…

Figures for the number of people living in emergency accommodation in the final week of October 2019; video link to Dáil Éireann tonight

This evening.

The Department of Housing has released the latest homeless figures which show there were  10,514 people (6,688 adults and 3,826 children) living in emergency accommodation in the final week of October.

This is yet another record high.

In November 2018, the figure was 9,968; in December 2018, 9,753; in January 2019,  9,987; in February 2019, 10,264; in March 2019, 10,305; in April 2019, 10,378; in May 2019, 10,253; in June 2019, 10,172; in July 2019, 10,275; in August 2019, 10,338; in September 2019, 10,397.

The release of the figures comes hours ahead of the Social Democrats’ motion of no confidence in the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy this evening which gets under way at 8pm.

A debate and vote on the motion can be watched live in the link above.

Earlier: “The Plan, It Seems, Is Not Adequate To The Challenge”

From top: Social Democrats co-leaders Catherine Murphy (left) and Róisín Shortall; Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy

This morning.

Bryan Dobson interviewed Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland ahead of the Social Democrats’ motion of no confidence in him this evening.

The Department of Housing’s homeless figures show there were a total of 9,724 individuals in emergency accommodation in October 2018.

In November 2018, the figure was 9,968; in December 2018, 9,753; in January 2019,  9,987; in February 2019, 10,264; in March 2019, 10,305; in April 2019, 10,378; in May 2019, 10,253; in June 2019, 10,172; in July 2019, 10,275; in August 2019, 10,338; in September 2019, 10,397.

The figures for October 2019 have yet to be released even though they were expected to be last week.

At the beginning of the interview, Mr Murphy called the motion “opportunistic” and “reckless”.

From the interview…

Eoghan Murphy: “We’re talking about a party which never once questioned me on Rebuilding Ireland on the Joint Oireachtas committee, the programme that I’ve been implementing now for the last two and a half years, that never put down one amendment on the residential, the rent reform bill that I brought earlier this year.

“And we know that the majority of people who are coming into emergency accommodation are coming from the private rental sector. I brought through reforms to protect those people. They didn’t put down one amendment and we know as well that Social Democrat candidates and public representatives, including Roisin Shortall who was on earlier, are objecting to housing in their own constituency.”

Bryan Dobson: “Well they have put down this motion and just in relation to what it might mean for the Government. There’s no question of you standing aside, allowing the Government to survive. It would mean the end of the Government, a defeat tonight.”

Murphy: “Bryan this is a stunt from the Social Democrats. Rebuilding Ireland is working to fundamentally increase the supply of housing in a sustainable way and driving a programme and reforming…”

Dobson: “And we’ll come to that. Just in relation to the politics, it will depend then obviously on the votes of Michael Lowry, for example, who as we know, is convicted of tax offences; of Noel Grealish to support you, whose comments recently on immigrants you described as “disgusting” and “potentially dangerous”. Those are the sort of people you need to go through the lobbies to keep you in Government.”

Murphy: “And my own colleagues in Fine Gael. We’re a minority Government, Bryan. And we get the support from different elements, different parties, different individuals in the House on any given vote. Each vote is different and each vote should be taken on its own merits.”

Dobson: “Right. And just…Dara Murphy, you expect him to be there? Your colleague?”

Murphy: “I do.”

Dobson: “The motion is in relation to confidence in you as minister. And you stand presumably on your record, so let’s look a little bit at your record. First in relation to homelessness.

“In June 2017, when you came into office, there were 7,900 people in emergency accommodation. At the end of September [2019], the most recent figures, that figure had risen to 10,397.

“Now that’s your record. Why would that inspire confidence?”

Murphy: “On that particular issue alone and I think we need to separate out housing and increasing the supply of housing and what’s happening in emergency accommodation because it’s more complex. Since I’ve been minister more than 12,000 people have exited homelessness. So while there has been an increase in the number of people in emergency accommodation and no one is happy about that, far many more people have been taken out of housing an security because of the work that we have done.

“Another thing to look at as well, is if you look at the 12 months before Rebuilding Ireland, the increase in the number of children going into emergency accommodation increased by 50 per cent. In the last 12 months, it’s increased by one per cent.

“That huge difference, in terms of the number of people going into emergency accommodation  is because of Rebuilding Ireland, because it is building new home and it’s supporting people in other ways who might be in housing insecurity.”

Dobson:It’s still the case though that there are close-on 3,900 children in emergency accommodation and we know from recent study carried out by the Royal Holloway Hospital in London that that has very significant or can have very significant implications for their development.

“They reported they couldn’t crawl or walk because of lack of space. That they didn’t have the ability to chew because they didn’t have access to the kind of food that they should be getting access to. That’s really a dreadful situation for any children to be in.”

Murphy: “Of course, and if we hadn’t had Rebuilding Ireland in place, if we hadn’t this programme to increase the supply of homes, that number would be much, much higher. But because we are increasing house building, we’re able to prevent more people from going into emergency accommodation so one in two families, only two families that came into homeless services this year, we found a home for one immediately.

“Regrettably another family went into emergency accommodation. But so far this year, 900 families have left emergency accommodation so a huge amount of work is being done to try and protect people in housing and security and if we didn’t have a plan that wouldn’t be happening.

“And the Opposition [inaudible] Rebuilding Ireland but they haven’t presented their own plan to replace it. And they haven’t changed one thing that I had done. We are the minority, we discussed earlier, they could change my plan and they haven’t.”

Dobson: “We also know that 45% of families in emergency accommodation are spending more than a year there. The figure is 15% for those who spend more than two years. So people are trapped in long-term homelessness here.”

Murphy: “So the majority are spending less than a year based on the figure you just gave to me. And that’s the important thing to point out. More than 50% of families in emergency accommodation are there for less than 12 months. It shouldn’t be any period at all but we don’t have the houses built yet. I mean we had a point inside very recently where the construction sector was basically non existent and almost nothing was being built.

“In a short period of time, we’ve had to rebuild the sector, build homes, and it’s at a time of net immigration as well. But the news now, under Rebuilding Ireland, is that the number of homes being built is dramatically increasing and that’s how we fix this problem. If you’re in a family hub, you’re spending an average of six months, and a family hub is the preferred option over a hotel and we’re rolling out family hubs all the time…”

Dobson: “And we’ve been hearing this, we heard it a year ago when you last defended yourself against a no confidence motion. We’ve been hearing it year after year from other previous ministers as well and yet the numbers still continue to rise. The plan, it seems, is not adequate to the challenge.”

Murphy: “The point about the numbers, Bryan, is that things were at risk of exploding. And the NGOs over the summer said that they were worried that the numbers of people in emergency accommodation was going to explode and they acknowledged that that didn’t happen. They’ve essentially remained almost flat for the last year because we have been able to build more homes. We’ve been able to stop the number of people going into emergency accommodation and now help people out.

“But we have to build more homes to get those people out of emergency accommodation and on that point, the CSO does the counting and those numbers don’t lie.”

Later

Murphy:Rebuilding Ireland isn’t four or five years old yet, OK. So what we’re doing is increasing the social housing stock by more than 50,000 homes under Rebuilding Ireland and in the final year of Rebuilding Ireland which is 2021, which isn’t very long away, we’ll house more people in social housing homes than we will through the private rental sector. That’s the turnaround that we’re facing.”

Listen back in full here

Meanwhile…

Meanwhile…

On the letter’s page in this morning’s Irish Times...

I attended court with a young homeless boy who had been charged with theft of a bottle of orange, value €1.

Another homeless man was charged with theft of four bars of chocolate, value €3.

Another homeless man was charged with theft of two packets of Silk Cut cigarettes.

A TD, on his way to, or from, his full-time, very well paid job in Brussels, stops by at Dáil Éireann to sign in, so that he can collect his full €51,600 expenses for his attendance in the Dáil.

Fr Peter McVerry SJ,
Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice,
Gardiner Street,
Dublin 1.

A tale of two cities (Irish Times letters page)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy

This morning/afternoon.

The Social Democrats will  bring a motion of no confidence in the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy to the floor of the Dáil next week.

It comes, according to RTE, amid speculation that Fine Gael TD Dara Murphy is set’ to resign his seat in the Dáil to take up a job in the European Commission’.

Catherine Murphy , co-leader of the Social Democrats, said:

“Our housing situation has gone beyond a crisis and has been an emergency for a long time. This Minister and this Government have abjectly failed Irish families, our communities and our economy in not getting to grips with the chronic lack of housing that is affordable to buy or rent.

“The Minister’s trots out his plan – Rebuilding Ireland – but he can’t even meet the tame targets set in that plan. It is failure upon failure. And the consequences for real people are appalling.”

Roisín Shortall, Ms Murphy’s fellow co-leader, added:

On almost every door in the by-elections, our candidates in Cork North Central, Dublin Mid West and Dublin Fingal hear the same story of an emergency in housing.”

Meanwhile

A spokesperson for Minister Murphy said the motion is an “election stunt” ahead of the by-elections on Friday.

“This is pathetic and the Social Democrats would be better using their time seeking support for a constructive solution rather than a stunt that will not pass,” the spokesperson said.

Social Democrats to table no-confidence motion in Murphy (RTÉ)

Rollingnews

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy (second from right) turning the sod on an upgrade to the Lee Road Water Treatment in Cork City

This afternoon.

Eoin English, in The Irish Examiner, reports that the Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy responded to criticism of the Government’s response to the housing crisis by Fr Peter McVerry.

Mr English reported:

Eoghan Murphy warned that the State can’t just “throw up houses” overnight and must consider how to build communities too.

…“When we build a home today, we want it to last for 100-years,” he said.

“So we have to think, are we building it in the right place, to the right standards and specifications?”

Housing Minister defends the government’s Rebuilding Ireland plan during Cork visit (Eoin English, The Irish Examiner)

Pic: Cork City Council

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy; Fine Gael TD Jim Daly

Yesterday.

In the Dáil.

During the Topic Issue Debate, Social Democrats co-leader and Kildare North TD Catherine Murphy raised her concerns about delays facing people trying to access their Housing Assistance Payment and the implications of these delays.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy wasn’t able to be present for her contribution but Minister of State at the Department of Health with special responsibility for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly responded to Ms Murphy.

Ms Murphy claimed some people are facing a nine-week delay in getting their HAP application processed.

Mr Daly said applications are processed, on average, wait two days.

Ms Murphy said:

“I want to focus on is a serious problem that seems to have dramatically worsened in the past two or three months, namely, the delay in having a HAP application processed.

“This in addition to the lack of flexibility shown in cases where rents are very high and the HAP is not sufficient to cover them, meaning people have to try to source accommodation in a very limited sector.

In the past few months, the delay in processing an application has become dramatically worse and now averages nine weeks.

“One can find a situation where a family will find a landlord who will accept the HAP. However, when they get the contracts and present the application they are told the process will take nine weeks.

Several people have told me they have been told to pay the rent in the interim. Who, in his or her right mind, would say that? If people had several thousand euro in their bank account, they would not be looking for a housing assistance payment.

“It is absolutely mad. These people do not have money to pay rent in the interim. The delay has got dramatically worse.

Ms Murphy added:

“Another major concern I hear expressed all the time is that when people borrow the money they do not feel secure about getting the money back because they will have demonstrated an ability to pay it. This issue is adding to the stress.

“Landlords are also left in limbo because they do not know, if they have accommodated somebody with HAP, that the payment will be processed. It would be enormously helpful if a letter was sent out confirming that people are approved.

“I speak to a number of estate agents, and I had cause to speak to one particular letting agent, who I know is very good at sourcing accommodation and encouraging landlords to take HAP tenants.

“He spoke about having very good experiences and not having an issue. However, he feels he has been left with egg on face because he recommended HAP but it is taking so long to process it that landlords are coming back to him saying they are uncertain they will get paid.

“It is perfectly legitimate and legal for a landlord to evict somebody in that scenario.

The letting agent told me that once a property is advertised in the north Kildare-west Dublin area, he expects to receive 150 or 160 emails within 24 hours, of which 70% would be from HAP tenants.

The remaining 30% of applicants have the best chance of securing that accommodation if the landlord knows he or she will have to wait nine or ten weeks to have the HAP payment processed.

“I have come across several cases where people who have been told to leave accommodation subsequently find other accommodation and then have to reapply for HAP.

When we ring the office in Limerick we are told the reason for the delay is that a large number of additional applications have been received.

Is there a large number of additional applications? Is the problem a shortage of money or a staffing issue? What is causing the problem because the situation is chaotic at the moment?

Mr Daly responded to Ms Murphy by explaining how the HAP system works before saying:

“Limerick City and County Council provide a highly effective transactional shared service on behalf of all HAP local authorities and manages all HAP related rental transactions for the tenant, local authority and landlord.

On average, HAP applications are processed by the HAP Shared Services Centre within two working days of receipt.

“Any rental payment arising for a given month will then be made to a landlord on the last Wednesday of that month.”

Ms Murphy told Mr Daly to ring the Limerick office and warned him that she believes his information is “wrong”.

She said:

“What is in his [Mr Daly’s] reply does not match in any way the experience of the applicants. That information must be out of date.

“It is not fair on applicants to put them in this situation. If their applications were being processed within two days I would not be on my feet raising this issue.

I would not have queues of people coming into my office in tears totally stressed out by this. This is also not fair on landlords who are being left in a precarious position. It is not fair all round.

“Regarding the timelines the Minister of State mentioned, it can take up to two months, and mostly it does, to process a housing application.

“It can take another eight or nine weeks to process a HAP application. What is happening is potentially adding to the homeless crisis.

“The way HAP is being applied is problematic. In some local authorities the uplift of the 20% for a person who is in a homeless situation is not being applied. From my experience of its application in Kildare, it has been very patchy.

The delays in HAP payments are sending the message to landlords that they should stay away from this scheme.

“That is not the message that needs to be delivered when we know people are already in a precarious position in terms of security of accommodation.

“I ask the Minister of State to check the facts he has put on the record because they do not align with the experience of people with whom I have been dealing and the situation has dramatically disimproved during the past few months.

“I believe the information in the reply is wrong.”

Mr Daly said he would relay Ms Murphy’s contribution to Mr Murphy.

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

Playwright Colin Murphy’s column in the Sunday Business Post at the weekend

In the Sunday Business Post at the weekend, playwright and columnist Colin Murphy wrote about the coverage of Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey.

He wrote:

In school, we called this a pile-on. Online, it’s called a shaming. The journalist Jon Ronson wrote an illuminating book about this, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, where he tracked down people to whom this had happened.

This emerging culture of online shaming “felt different to satire or journalism or criticism”, he wrote. “It felt like punishment.” This punishment may not have been intended by those contributing to it, but it was real.

…Maria Bailey gave us all a laugh. For those who perceive her party as out of touch, arrogant and reeking of privilege, #SwingGate was symptomatic of a broader malaise.

But it is not a significant political or policy story. Linking it to the ‘compo culture’ issue is valid but unenlightening; most of this linking of it has merely been self-righteous political opportunism.

The newspaper failed to mention that Mr Murphy is a brother of Fine Gael TD and Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy.

Further to this…

ucancallmecaroline tweetz:

Should journalist state a conflict of interest if they have family members related to political parties when writing political articles.

It’s time to back off: Bailey has been punished enough (The Sunday Business Post)

From top: Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy and Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone; People Before Profit’s Peter Dooley

Yesterday.

RDS Count Centre.

People Before Profit Local Election candidate Peter Dooley talks to reporters after his supporters confronted Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy with chants of ‘you can stick your co-living up your arse’.

Rollingnews

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy

This afternoon on RTÉ Radio One’s News At One.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy was interviewed by reporter Louise Byrne about the latest Daft.ie quarterly report which shows just 2,700 properties were available to rent nationwide on the website on May 1, while the average rent nationwide is €1,366.

Mr Murphy told Ms Byrne rent inflation is low.

The Daft.ie report did refer to the national annual rate of inflation at 8.3%, in the first quarter of 2019, being the lowest in five years as a “crumb of comfort” in the report.

Ms Byrne put it to Mr Murphy: “Are rent increases of 6.8% in Dublin year-on-year slow?

He said:

“It’s the slowest rate of increase that we’ve seen since 2013. We know that rents have run away in the capital because of the lack of the supply that we have had with homes to buy and homes to rent.

“And that’s why with Rebuilding Ireland, we’re dramatically increasing the number of homes to buy, but we’re also bringing in these reforms to protect renters which is so important. We know we have more work to do.

“We’re halfway through Rebuilding Ireland but it is showing signs of progress in some key areas like supply. But there’s more to do and that’s exactly what we’re going to be doing over the rest of the year.”

Asked when 80,000 homes will be built in Dublin – given that this is the figure Daft.ie claims is required and only 18,000 were built across the country last year, Mr Murphy said:

“What we saw last year was the 25% increase in the number of homes built over the previous year, it’s going to increase again this year. Each year, under our plans we’re committing more money to building more homes for social and affordable housing, we’re also seeing on the private side more housing being built as well.

“The key thing we need to see in places like Dublin is more apartments, but it’s not just Dublin where we need to see more apartments being built, it’s in each of the cities in the large towns that we have in the country. And that’s why we talk about our vision beyond Rebuilding Ireland.

“We’re talking about growing the population outside of Dublin, taking the pressure off Dublin, not just for homes but for jobs as well.”

Mr Murphy also told Ms Byrne that the rent caps “that have been working” have been extended to 2021 “at the earliest”.

Listen back in full here

Earlier: Daft Figures

Rollingnews