Sunday 24 June 2018

Conor Skehan reappointed chair of Housing Agency until end of 2018

Conor Skehan
Conor Skehan

Paul Melia Environment Editor

Conor Skehan has been reappointed chair of the Housing Agency until the end of the year.

The move comes after he was roundly criticised this week for suggesting that some people were “gaming the system” by declaring themselves as homeless in order to secure a home ahead of others on council waiting lists.

The appointment was confirmed in a notice published in State gazette, Iris Oifigiúil.

It said that Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy had made six appointments to the board of the Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency (Housing Agency).

“The minister has also reappointed Conor Skehan as chair of the agency for the period 01 January 2018 to 31 December 2018,” it added.

Mr Skehan has served as chair since July 2013 and was due to step down last month.

In an interview, he suggested that the Government may have “unwittingly created a problem by prioritising self-declared homelessness above all other types of housing need”.

He referenced a measure introduced in January 2015, but since dropped, where half of all social homes were to be allocated to homeless people.

He suggested this may have led to people to “game the system”, or declare themselves as homeless, to jump the queue for a home.

His comments were roundly criticised by homeless charities, with the Department of Housing saying it had no evidence to support his view.

The Housing Agency also said Mr Skehan was speaking in a personal capacity.

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