Tag Archives: Paudie Coffey


There you go.

Previously: A Drafting Error?



Minister for Housing Simon Coveney

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney spoke in the Seanad this afternoon – in relation to the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Bill.

He also raised the occupation of Apollo House.

He said:

“Just on Apollo House, I know it’s a slight diversion and I hope the chair will allow me to just give two minutes on this issue.”

The only outcome I want here is to ensure that people who are homeless, who slept in Apollo House last night and the night before, that we can manage an orderly transition into a solution for those people, for their immediate challenges in terms of what they’re facing because they are homeless.

“Many people who are homeless have chaotic lives, in terms of challenges in mental health, of family breakdown, of addiction, and so many others. And, normally, a combination of a whole series of them at the same time. And, on top of that, they have the anxiety and worry and stress, sometimes physical demands of actually trying to live night by night, not knowing where they’re going to be tomorrow.”

“So, my understanding is that there were over 30 people in Apollo House last night. What we want to do is work with the people in Apollo House who have raised the profile in terms of homelessness in terms of a national debate this week. And ensure that the people who need help the most here, who are currently resident in Apollo House can make the transition from there to suitable accommodation with professionals who will know a lot more than I’ll ever know about homelessness. Looking after them, whether that’s the Peter McVerry Trust, whether it’s Vincent de Paul, whether it’s the Simon Community, whether it’s Focus Ireland, whoever it is, right?”

“And we need to make sure that that transition doesn’t add to the already stressful and uncertain situation that many of those people face. And I would ask people in Apollo House to work with us on that. I think there are a lot of good people involved in that campaign who want to see the right outcome here, as well as want to continue a campaign to put me under pressure to deliver faster – and that’s fine, too. That’s politics.

“And it is my job to lead the political response that’s needed to solving homelessness. And I am going to do that.”

“We have started that process. Even the most critical people, of Government policy and homelessness would accept that we have the most comprehensive homeless strategy that we’ve ever had in Ireland now. It’s all about implementing it and getting results for people. And that is why, in the last six weeks, we have used emergency powers, to basically put leases in places for three new hostels in Dublin.

We have had construction teams 24 hours a day, in some cases, kitting out those facilities. I’ve sanctioned over €5million for those three projects. And if we need another one, then we’ll get another one.

“But we’ll do it, in a way, that ensures the safety of homeless people that are going to be accommodated there, learning lessons from other hostels that haven’t worked as well as they might have over the need for better design and so on.”

“So, you know, the three new hostels, one is in Little Britain Street – there’s 45 beds open there now. There’s 75 in Ellis Quay, which is being run by the Peter McVerry Trust; sorry, Little Britain Street is being run by the DePaul Trust, they have 70 beds open. And there’ll probably be a few more added to that.

“And then Camden Hall, which is a more controversial one, on Francis Street, because there was an injunction preventing us from opening that facility last week, from local residents. And we had to go to court to open it. And that will be open by Friday. There’ll be 25 beds initially of 51 beds that will be place in the, you know, not too distant future and we’re talking days rather than weeks, run by the Simon Community.”

“There’s another 20 beds then that are going to be provided on Wolfe Tone Quay, by Civil Defence if there’s  a need for overflow or extra spaces. And so, when all of those facilities are fully up and running, we’ll be talking about adding about 240 beds to the system.

“When I was asked for more beds in advance of winter, by the NGOs working in the sector, I was asked to provide an extra 120/125 beds to the system. We’re going to be adding 240 beds to the system. And it’s just as well we are actually. Because we’re gonna need the vast majority of them.

Last night there were 15 beds unoccupied in our shelters and we had more than 30 people in Apollo House and I’m sure there were some people on the streets last night. So we need these extra beds. And I’m not going to get into judgement on people in Apollo House, in terms of the campaign here. What I’m interested in is resolving this issue before Christmas if we can do that, and helping people who need the State’s help – to make the transition into hostel facilities that they can trust and believe in, in terms of their own security and in terms of, more importantly, getting them onto a program that can help them transition from temporary, emergency accommodation into a home of their own in terms of a social housing solution, in time.”

And actually, just, for the record, there has been a record number of people that have made that transition this year. There’ll be over 2,700 families and individuals that will have gone from homelessness into permanent accommodation and we need to do more of that next year and we’re going to. And we have the resources to do it.”

“Finally, on the resources, this year the allocation for my department for homelessness services was €70million, next year, it’s €100million. And there’s a lot more money, on top of that, coming from the department of health, about €36million next year. And, of course, there are multiples of that in terms of social housing. In terms of acquisitions.

“I think I mentioned earlier, we spent €203million this year, acquiring over 1,000 properties across the local authorities across the country, again trying to get social housing numbers up.”

So, there is a really strong commitment in this area to get on top of it. Not because of the politics of it or anything but because, if a state can’t house people, that are so vulnerable that they literally have nowhere to go, well then I think we have to ask ourselves serious questions. And it’s my responsibility to make sure that we answer those questions. But you can’t do it overnight. And we’re ramping up services quickly.”

“I think, again, most of the NGOs that I’ve spoken to and yesterday I met the CEOs of four key ones, they would all accept that by the end of this week, we should have enough beds to deal with everybody who wants a bed. And we need to start working with people who are refusing beds, who are on the streets at the moment, to try and get them into shelter as well.”

Watch the debate live here


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Fine Gael Minister for Housing Paudie Coffey on Claire Byrne Live last night

Last night, minister for housing Paudie Coffey appeared on Claire Byrne Live following the broadcast of documentary My Homeless Family on RTÉ One.

During his appearance, Mr Coffey said:

“It’s factual that 2,000 people actually exited homelessness in the last year. In the last year as well, this Government and, you know, this society has provided 13,000 additional housing units for people. That’s up 86% on previous years. So progress is being made but not enough obviously.”

Further to this…

Cockamamie, hogwash, twaddle and horsefeathers?

Or plain not?

YOU decide.

Watch Claire Byrne Live back in full here


Fine Gael’s junior environment minister Paudie Coffey

This morning, Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen claimed that, according to local authority figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the number of people on the social housing waiting list is 130,000 – 45 per cent higher than that of the Government’s official figure of 90,000.

Junior environment minister Paudie Coffey attempted to rebut those figures with Cathal MacCoille on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

Cathal MacCoille: “We knew there were about 90,000 families and individuals on the social housing list, according to the Government’s own figures but Fianna Fáil say the figures they’ve obtained from the local authorities, under the Freedom of Information Act, show the true up-to-date figures for the number on that list is 130,000. We heard from Barry Cowen, of Fianna Fáil, earlier about this. On the line now is Paudie Coffey, the minister of state with responsibility for housing. Minister, good morning.”

Paudie Coffey: “Good morning to you Cathal.”

MacCoille: “Do you agree, first of all, with Fianna Fáil’s figures. Are they correct?”

Coffey: “I don’t agree with Fianna Fáil’s figures because really, essentially, what they are is just a snapshot in time, taken from the local authorities around the country. But, as we have discovered, and really, the reason we utilise the Housing Agency – which is an independent agency – that has research capabilities to capture reliable information. We utilise those figures and they’re the figures that the CSO and every other agency in the country utilises. The last time that they did an in-depth analysis and a robust assessment of the housing need in this country was in 2013. And they’re the figures that we have arrived at – the 90,000 that you’ve mentioned and we utilise that in our response to the social housing strategies that the Government announced last year.”

MacCoille: “Right. The only problem with that is obviously that’s a two-year-old figure. What’s wrong with those figures that Fianna Fáil are using to say, it’s not 90,000, it’s 130,000.”

Coffey: “Well the housing lists are changing all the time, Cathal. If Fianna Fáil were to ask the same question today as it did possibly a month or a few weeks ago, they would get a very different answer.”

MacCoille: “Yeah but ok. But what’s wrong with them asking, as a measure, as an accurate measure – if they are accurate – of what the situation was a month or two ago, when they put in these requests. Why is that figure not accurate?”

Coffey: “Various factors come into play and as I’ve said, the Housing Agency do a  robust analysis, they engage with every local authority who, in turn, do a critical assessment of every applicant on the housing list. And that means a contact with every person who’s circumstances may have changed in the first instance. Some people may have found employment as we see the employment figures rising and they would no longer have the need for social housing. So that’s just one example.”

MacCoille: “Yeah but we’re talking about… what I’m asking is… because you appear to be saying that the local authorities are keeping inaccurate figures, is that what you’re saying?

Coffey: “No that’s not what I’m saying…”

MacCoille: “So what are you saying?”

Coffey:The figures are changing all the time and I think that’s acknowledged by all parties…”

Talk over each other

MacCoille: “Yeah, ok, but can we just concentrate on the figures that Fianna Fáil got a month or two ago when they put in this request. Now, you’re not accepting those figures and what I’m asking you is: why don’t you accept those figures as a representation of what the situation was then?

Coffey: “Yeah, a lot of those figures would have duplicity in them. A lot of those people will have left the housing list even since, there are changes in people’s circumstances all the time. Sometimes people’s housing needs would increase, and sometimes it would be removed altogether, where people come off the list.”

MacCoille: “Right.”

Coffey: “Now it is reasonable to assume that it has risen since 2013, I will acknowledge that and that is why every year, from now on we will have reliable information captured by the Housing Agency which are the independent agency in this regard and that information will be used to inform Government policy, not only in terms of the social housing strategy but in other strategies and policies in terms of planning and the provision of housing…”

MacCoille:And when will we get those figures?”

Coffey: “Sorry? Excuse me, Cathal, sorry, repeat that.”

MacCoille:Sorry and when will we get those figures?

Coffey: “We already have the 2013 figures…”

MacCoille:Yeah, but up-to-date figures?

Coffey: “The social housing strategy has now been adopted and it’s being implemented to meet the needs of 110,000 houses in this country, not the 90,000, 110,000. Every year, from  2016, we will have reliable information, we will evaluate that and monitor progress in terms of how we’re meeting…”

MacCoille:So we’ll get an up-to-date figure next year?

Coffey: “An up-to-date that is reliable and accurate and provided by the Housing Agency.”

MacCoille:Any chance we’ll get it before the election?

Coffey: “Excuse me?”

MacCoille:Any chance we’ll get that up-to-date figure before the next general election?

Coffey: “The Housing Agency only this year published the national housing survey and now they are already engaging with local authority housing which measure the needs over the coming years.”

MacCoille:But what I’m asking you is: Is there any chance of getting an up-to-date figure for the number of people on the social housing list before the general election...”

Talk over each other

Coffey: “Neither I nor you know the date of the next general election so I can’t answer that.”

MacCoille: “We do…excuse me Minister, please, can we just concentrate on the basics, we know there will have to be a general election by April of next year and I’m asking you a simple question: is there any chance of getting an up-to-date figure for the number of people on the social housing list before April next year?

Coffey: “The Housing Agency will provide accurate data in 2016. I cannot give you that answer now, you know, over the airwaves. 2016 is set for a date for the general election. The Housing Agency are constantly reviewing and evaluating the housing need. The Government are focused on providing solutions to meet that need and that’s why we’ve committed €4billion over the next number of years to meet that need in social housing…”

Listen back in full here

Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie




Enda Kenny with Paudie Coffey during the 2011 General Election campaign

Paudie Coffey: “I think he has done the right thing to avoid any confusion because I think because I think the integrity of Irish Water and the directorships and that must be kept intact. He is now a civilian again and he is remaining as my driver and that’s the way it is, so I’d like to leave it at that.”

Newstalk: “Did you know he was a director of Irish Water?”

Coffey: “Yes I did, I did, so we’ll leave it at that… No I didn’t understand exactly the conflict of interest.”

Junior Environment Minister Paudie Coffey to Newstalk on the resignation of his chauffeur Hilary Quinlan as a director of Irish Water.

Previously: Hilary Duff

Right Hand Man

Pic: Fine Gael

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Hilary Quinlan

The Irish Times reports this morning that junior minister at the Department of the Environment and Waterford TD, Paudie Coffey, has hired former Waterford Fine Gael councillor and Irish Water director, Hilary Quinlan, as his personal driver – earning him €665 a week.


Fiach Kelly reports:

You tell me one party out there who doesn’t look after their own. I don’t see anything wrong with it. It’s politics.” [Mr Quinlan] asked why there isn’t more of a focus on the economy. “We were all nearly eating out of bins three years ago.”


In January – before Mr Quinlan lost his seat at Waterford City Council at the local elections in May – he spoke to WLRFM about his €15,000-a-year appointment at Irish Water, saying Environment Minister Phil Hogan appointed him.

The Irish Daily Mail reported at the time:

Asked about the public perception of getting the post, Mr Quinlan told WLRFM: ‘Look, live in the real world now please. I’ve said what I have to say about it. I want to speak to you about the reasons why Irish Water was set up. I’m trying to put a positive spin on the New Year.’

“Revealing that his board member salary would be in the region of ’15 grand’, the Fine Gael representative, who has been a councillor for 29 years, added that he would ‘probably’ get travel and overnight expenses too. But he insisted: ‘That’s not my motivation. It never has been my motivation.’ When pressed on his appointment, he said: ‘I was in the right place at the right time.’

Irish Water director hired as personal driver by Minister (Fiach Kelly, Irish Times)

Previously: The John Deasy Transcript

Pic: Irish Water