Friday, 10 Apr 2020

Murphy wants 'the chance to continue what I've done' as Housing Minister

Eoghan Murphy has insisted he wants to remain as Housing Minister if Fine Gael is returned to power in the General Election.

Speaking at a Fine Gael election campaign event, Mr Murphy defended his record on housing and said he had unfinished business to do in the department.

The Housing Minister, who has faced two Dáil motions of no confidence, said he has implemented “important reforms” since taking office, including changes to the planning process to allow more apartments be built and a clampdown on Airbnb rentals.

“I think, given where we are in the housing cycle, it’s important that we continue with the plans that we have and we improve on what we can, and where we know we need to, and I would like the opportunity to continue what I’ve been doing so far,” he said.

The minister also defended the increase in the interest rate on Rebuilding Ireland Home Loans for new applicants, saying it was agreed with Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe.

The minister said Fine Gael would build 60,000 social housing units over the next five years if the party was re-elected. He said the Government was responsible for the construction of 10,000 social housing units last year and said a further 11,000 would be built in 2020.

Meanwhile, Minister of State in Mr Murphy’s department, Damien English, announced significant reforms to a scheme that allows those living in social housing to buy their home from the State.

Social housing residents can buy homes from local authorities within a year of taking up residence. However, Mr English plans to increase this to 10 years as he does not believe residents can say they are “established in a community” if they are living in a property for less than 12 months.

The Meath West TD said Fine Gael would also introduce a social housing passport which would allow people to move between properties in different local authorities. He said it would also build more social housing for single people.

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