Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien must explain €1bn capital budget underspend - Eoin Ó Broin TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing, Eoin Ó Broin TD, has called on Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien to explain the €1bn capital underspend from his 2022 budget allocation.
The call comes as the total underspend was revealed in a Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Incoming Minister’s Brief 2022 document prepared for Paschal Donohoe last month.
Teachta Ó Broin said:
“We have known for some months that the Department of Housing had a significant underspend last year and that the government would miss their social and affordable housing targets.
“However, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Incoming Minister’s Brief prepared for Paschal Donohoe in December estimates that the total capital underspend in the Department of Housing last year will be as high as €1bn.
“Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien must explain this scandalous underspend. We are in the middle of an escalating housing and homeless crisis. Rents and house prices are rising. Homelessness is at record levels.
“The idea that the Minister for Housing would allow a capital underspend of up to €1bn is absolutely scandalous.
“The DEPR report sets out in stark detail the impact of the underspend. Social Housing output is likely to be 28% below target with just 6500 of the promised 9000 new build social homes delivered.
“Affordable housing output is likely to be a staggering 78% short of the 4100 affordable homes promised. The DEPR report estimates that less than 1000 affordable homes were delivered last year.
“There is a direct link between the deepening housing crisis and the Minister for Housing's missed targets. People are homeless because the government is failing to meet its social housing targets. Rents and house prices are rising because the government is failing to meet its affordable housing targets.
“For the third year in a row, Darragh O’Brien has missed his public housing targets and failed to spend the capital allocated to him. The government's housing plan is not working. It is making the crisis worse.
“Only a new housing plan, from a new minister, under a new government, can start to end the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael housing crisis.”
The Incoming Minister's Brief can be read here.