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'Home truths': Housing Minister's copycat policy book rejected


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Minister Darragh O’Brien. Photo: Frank McGrath

Minister Darragh O’Brien. Photo: Frank McGrath

Minister Darragh O’Brien. Photo: Frank McGrath

Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien's copycat book on housing policy was rejected by publishers.

Mr O'Brien pitched a book just months after Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin's own agenda-setting book 'Home' came on the market last year.

'Home Truths' was the name pitched for a book by Mr O'Brien, then Fianna Fáil's housing spokesman.

However, publishers rejected his one-and-a-half page proposal for the unwritten tome. Mr Ó Broin's book on public housing formed a key plank of Sinn Féin's successful general election campaign.

Mr O'Brien's policies in Opposition were criticised for lacking depth.

The minister's first major policy move on renters has caused a revolt by Green Party TDs, who say the legislation is weak.

'Home; why public housing is the answer', by Eoin Ó Broin went on to become a surprise bestseller.

After the general election, the book sold out and had to be reprinted. The book enhanced Mr Ó Broin's image as an expert on housing.

The book was published in April 2019, just before Sinn Féin took a beating in the local and European elections.

'Home' looked at the reasons behind the housing crisis, going back to the 1980s and presents policies, including a constitutional right to a home and investment in public housing.

The minister doesn't seem to have read the book, despite claiming on Newstalk last month "it doesn't mention home ownership once". The index at the back of Mr Ó Broin's book says "home ownership" is mentioned 20 times across 23 pages.

While Mr Ó Broin's book focussed on public housing, Mr O'Brien's book was to be about home ownership.

Pitched in October 2019, 'Home Truths' was to be written by Mr O'Brien and Kevin Dillon, then Fianna Fáil's head of research. Mr Dillon, who has a Masters in Regional and Urban Planning from UCD, is now an adviser to Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

The rather lengthy full title was: 'Home Truths: What happened to home ownership, why it matters and how we can keep it alive for the next generation.'

"The dream of home ownership is slipping through the fingers of an entire generation," the pitch to publishers said.

Publishers declined the offer.

The minister's spokesman said the book hasn't progressed further.

Irish Independent