Varadkar has 'full confidence' in Eoghan Murphy, despite record high in homelessness
THE record number of homeless people is "disappointing and very depressing" but Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said housing minister Eoghan Murphy has his "full confidence".
Mr Varadkar was speaking after the number or people living in emergency accommodation rose to 10,305 in March.
Despite the record high in the number of homeless people, the Taoiseach defended his Fine Gael colleague saying: "I've full confidence in Eoghan Murphy as Housing Minister, it's a very difficult job."
He added that Mr Murphy did not cause the housing crisis, which he said was the responsibility of other people before the government took office.
Mr Varadkar said "This time eight or nine years ago the banks were bust, the construction industry had collapsed, hundreds of thousands of people were in negative equity... that is the Fianna Fáil record and the Opposition record when it comes to housing.
"Recovering from that was always going to be difficult, it was always going to take time."
Mr Varadkar added: "Notwithstanding the disappointing and very depressing homelessness figures which showed a further increase, albeit a slight one this month, we are making progress in other areas."
He said 18,000 new houses were built last year, more than any other year in a decade.
He also said that while homeless figures are going down, the number of people being lifted out of homelessness "is actually at a record high as well.
"The difficulty we have is that people are still becoming homeless at a very fast rate."
Mr Varadkar said the supply of housing is increasing and the government is working to strengthen the rights of tenants.