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Housing chief to defend views on people 'gaming the system'

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Dr Conor Skehan

Dr Conor Skehan

Dr Conor Skehan

Housing Agency chief Conor Skehan is to indicate that he felt comfortable making public comments about people "gaming the system" because he was stepping down from his role.

He will tell an Oireachtas committee that he agreed to one 'exit interview' with the press, before discovering that there was nobody to replace him.

Mr Skehan landed himself in major controversy after suggesting that people were attempting to jump up the social-housing list by presenting as homeless.

In a statement to TDs and senators ahead of a grilling today, Mr Skehan said the comments were made during a two-hour interview about "what I had learned about housing in the last five years".

"I informed the journalist, once I learned that I was not stepping down. The 'Irish Times' subsequently published six articles over a period of two weeks, using the material from this interview," he said.

Mr Skehan decided not to make himself available for reappointment because he believed it was time for someone with "deeper skills in financial and HR management".

The Public Appointments Service ran an open competition and recommending replacements, but the people concerned declined the role.

Mr Skehan intends to step down once a successor is found.

Irish Independent