Tuesday 21 November 2017

Anger as Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy fails to attend council meeting to discuss the housing crisis

Eoghan Murphy
Eoghan Murphy
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy angered members of Dublin City Council (DCC) after he decided against appearing before the council to discuss the housing crisis.

The council had sent an invitation to the minister, asking him to attend its first meeting after the summer break, which took place tonight.

However, Lord Mayor of Dublin, Michael McDonacha, revealed Mr Murphy responded that he would appear only after the Rebuilding Ireland report had been completed.

He said he was disappointed with the minister.

The decision was met with anger by members of all the parties on the council, other than the minister's Fine Gael.

The meeting had begun within a minutes silence, which remembered the homeless people who passed away in recent days, including Danielle Carroll (27), Jack Watson, who was in his 50s and Jennifer Dennehy, who was in her 30s.

"We're facing cowardice when we at Fine Gael in relation to the housing crisis," Fianna Fáil councillor, David Costello, said.

Independent councillor, Christy Burke, was even stronger in his criticism.

"I think it's an absolute disgrace," he said.

"He has treated the 63 members of this council with contempt," he said.

Mr Burke said four homeless people had died in recent weeks and said he was aware of one person who had passed away but had not received pubic attention.

Sinn Fein's Daithi Dolan said it "beggars belief" the minister decided not to turn up.

He said the council was the biggest local authority on the island and the minister should have been there to answer questions.

The other left wing parties also hit out at the the minister's failure to appear.

However, Fine Gael councillor Paddy McCartan, defended Mr Murphy.

"There is no doubting the commitment of minister Murphy to deal with the housing crisis," he said.

"The commitment was to be here in September, he is prepared to do that.

"To suggest he is unwilling to come into the council is incorrect," he added.

He estimated a time period of two weeks before the report was completed.

A spokesperson for the Housing Minister said:

"The invitation was extended via Fine Gael member Paddy McCartan which the Minister accepted. The Minister suggested the council have a special meeting on housing and homelessness and was told this was okay. The Lord Mayor then issued his statement. Minister has no problem meeting the council and has already agreed to do so. Tonight's actions are unfortunately using a crisis for political purposes."

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