Monday 16 September 2019

Micheal Martin likens Alan Kelly to Jose Mourinho over rent certainty debate in heated Dail scenes

Niall O'Connor

ENVIRONMENT Minister Alan Kelly and his Cabinet colleague Michael Noonan are embroiled in "pseudo warfare" over rent certainty, the Dail has heard.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin likened Mr Kelly to Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho during a heated 'Leaders' Questions' this afternoon.

He said the public are fed up with the infighting within Government circles over what measures should be introduced to tackle spiralling accommodation costs.

Mr Martin brought up a media interview given by by Mr Kelly last week, during which he referred to himself in the third person before attacking the "cowards" within Fine Gael who he claims have been briefing against him in a bid to derail his plan.

"Worrying in response - the Jose Mourinho type response - he (Kelly) goes into the third person and he attacks the 'cowards', the 'anonymous cowards',  that are leaking against him. He talks about his colleagues, Fine Gael senior ministers he is talking about," Mr Martin said.

"Meanwhile Taoiseach, as all this infighting goes on, we read all the headlines. 'AK 47' versus 'Buddha' in the form of the Minister for Finance nodding silently and sagely and so on like that," the Fianna Fáil leader added.

Mr Martin claimed Mr Kelly and Mr Noonan have been engaged in a "pseudo-war" while at the same time the housing crisis is deepening.

"Meanwhile, the numbers - 1500 children in emergency accommodation, Threshold saying the number of families will rise, who are homeless, will go from 700 to 1000 by Christmas.

"And the indecision is creating further instability in the rental market, with people shoving up the rents to get ahead of whatever proposals are going to emerge from Cabinet."

In response, the Taoiseach said he hopes both ministers can secure an agreement on short term rental measures by the end of the week.

He said there are a number of issues the Government is determined to address including supply and rough sleepers.

But Mr Kenny declined to say whether Mr Kelly's proposals to link rent to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) are dead in the water, as reported in today's Irish Independent.

"The Minister for Finance and Minister for Environment had a very good meeting yesterday. They are discussing a number of issues in respect of the short term that need to be attended to, and in the longer term," he told the Dail.

"As I've said on many occasions, the real problem here is the lack of supply of housing and Government are looking at a range of options there that can't take place over night, to provide the many houses that are needed," he added.

Mr Kenny said the heads of local authorities have been called in and told to ramp up their efforts in relation to solving the housing crisis.

And the Fine Gael leader said that he expects the issue in relation to rough sleepers in Dublin can be dealt with.

But Mr Martin described the ongoing saga over rent as "chaotic".

He said Mr Kelly pledged to link rent to inflation last September and yet no deal has been agreed. He said the issue has got progressively worse over the last 12 months.

"All we get is the Minister for the Environment calling the Fine Gaelers a load of cowards and they calling in calamity Kelly. That's what we are getting in the media on a week-by-week basis."

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