Political grudges stalling action on housing crisis

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Political grudges stalling action on housing crisis

The breakdown in relations between FG’s Eoghan Murphy and FF’s Darragh O’Brien could affect an election


Sinn Fein housing spokesman Eoin O Broin marked Eoghan Murphy’s first year as Minister for Housing with a mobile billboard highlighting the department’s failings. Photo: PA
Sinn Fein housing spokesman Eoin O Broin marked Eoghan Murphy’s first year as Minister for Housing with a mobile billboard highlighting the department’s failings. Photo: PA

When Darragh O’Brien’s mother heard her son had featured on the front page of the Sunday Independent days after being appointed Fianna Fail’s spokesperson on housing, her reaction was: “Oh God, what has he done?” But Mrs O’Brien needn’t have worried.

O’Brien had just been substituted on to the political pitch for his colleague Barry Cowen and went in on Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy with a bruising tackle. O’Brien said Murphy was “too elitist and cosseted” to fully understand a housing crisis which has resulted in thousands of families forced to seek the services of homeless agencies while even more people are priced out of the property market.

The comments went down well in Fianna Fail, especially among grassroots members anxious to see senior TDs give Fine Gael a kicking. Murphy reacted by saying his Fianna Fail counterpart’s remarks were the most “useless” contribution on the housing crisis he had heard. Fine Gael sources also privately noted O’Brien is based in the upmarket coastal town of Malahide in Dublin and has a keen interest in cricket.

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