Ireland

Government criticised for missing social and affordable housing targets

Eoin O Broin said the rising homeless figures are ‘a direct consequence of the Government’s failed housing policies’.

Sinn Fein’s housing spokesman Eoin O Broin, outside Government Buildings in Dublin, as he stages a ‘doorstep’ protest over the record level of children and adults in emergency accommodation. Picture date: Thursday March 28, 2024.
Irish homelessness Sinn Fein’s housing spokesman Eoin O Broin, outside Government Buildings in Dublin, as he stages a ‘doorstep’ protest over the record level of children and adults in emergency accommodation. Picture date: Thursday March 28, 2024. (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Government has been criticised for missing its newbuild social and affordable housing targets last year.

Tanaiste Micheal Martin defended the Government’s progress and said it was “way ahead” compared to the last 10 years.

There were 32,695 new homes built in 2023, exceeding the target of 29,000 set out in the Government’s Housing for All plan.

But the Government has been criticised for missing its targets for building social and affordable homes, with an opposition TD accusing them of “deliberately misrepresenting and massaging” the figures.

Sinn Fein TD Eoin O Broin said that the rise in the number of people who are homeless, as shown in new figures published on Thursday, was “a direct consequence of the Government’s failed housing policies”.



Sinn Fein’s housing spokesman Eoin O Broin, speaks to the media outside Government Buildings in Dublin
Irish homelessness Sinn Fein’s housing spokesman Eoin O Broin, speaks to the media outside Government Buildings in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

While the party’s housing spokesman was speaking outside Government Buildings, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar walked by.

“Homelessness is rising in part because of the man who just walked past us, which is the outgoing Taoiseach,” he said.

“It’s rising because this Government’s social and affordable housing targets are too low and year upon year upon year, they’re missing those targets.

“And I have to say the way in which the minister for housing released the information was deeply dishonest. He has deliberately misrepresented and massaged the figures.”

Mr Martin said that the figures represented “an incredible turnaround” from where we were three years ago.

“We were nowhere near 11,000 social houses delivered,” Mr Martin said.

Tanaiste Micheal Martin
National Risk Assessment for Ireland Tanaiste Micheal Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)

“And yes, the targets are there, the targets are meant to stretch us, we want to go and achieve them.

“But you know, I will answer that robustly in the sense that we exceeded the overall targets of housebuilding last year when we went close (to) 33,000, 29,000 was the target.

“I think this year, again, I think we’re in a position to exceed targets again this year.

“But I would say this though: that we need to go above again, and we have to get certainly to 40,000-plus within the next two years and maintain that then per annum if not even more.

“I think with measures of construction, greater pipelines coming along, we can do that.

“The key thing for us in housing is to keep the momentum going. Affordable housing as a concept is relatively new in Ireland where essentially it involves the state subsidising a whole range of private housing that is being built, to enable people to be able to afford it.”