Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions

Rental Sector

Eoin Ó Broin


88. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the changes he plans to make to the rent pressure zones if the harmonised index of consumer prices hits and breaches 4%. [46715/21]

When the Minister introduced legislation to link rent reviews to the harmonised index of consumer prices, HICP, he said that inflation was running at approximately 0.4% in the previous four months. Of course, in the month the legislation was enacted, rental inflation was 1.9%, thereafter went up to 2.2% and is now at 3%. What will he do to ensure that if inflation continues to rise, people do not end up with rent caps that are higher than those applying to the reformed rent pressure zones, RPZs?

The Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 introduced a targeted rent increase restriction of 4% per annum. The Deputy will recall that we brought forward some of the subsequent changes in legislation more quickly than we would have liked in order to deal with the roll-over of outstanding increases into an 8% rise. The Residential Tenancies (No. 2) Act 2021 introduced measures in July 2021 to better protect tenants with affordability challenges by extending the operation of RPZs until the end of 2024 and prohibiting any necessary rent increase in an RPZ from exceeding general inflation, as recorded by the harmonised index of consumer prices. This was a measure all parties supported, including the Deputy's party. It significantly reduced the level of permissible rent increases for approximately 74% of all tenancies within the RPZs. The legislation also made a number of changes to tenancies outside the RPZs.

When introducing those measures, I was very clear on the need to monitor inflation carefully. I said in the debate that I was aware inflation was rising. At the time, the HICP averaged some 0.73% per annum over the previous three years, but had risen to 1.6% per annum in the year ending June 2021. I needed to revise the RPZ rent control relatively quickly in July, which was accepted by the House, on a basis that could be independently verified. The 2021 Act provides that an index other than the HICP may be prescribed for the purposes of restricting rent increases in RPZs. Given the continuing rise in HICP inflation, up to 3% per annum in August, I am considering all legal options available to me to ensure effective rent controls are legally in force in RPZs to cap the rate of any rent increase where the general inflation rate is too high. I intend to bring this change forward by way of the housing and residential tenancies Bill 2021 before the end of this Dáil term. I will give further details presently.

I thank the Minister for his response. The difficulty for many on this side of the House is that for a long time we advocated for rent certainty when that was the right policy but rents have now risen so high that a rental increase of 2%, 3%, 4% or possibly 5% is not sustainable, particularly for renters who have experienced a more than doubling in the cost of renting in the past decade. There have been 40% rental increases in Dublin since 2016 and 20% increases across the State. I accept the Minister's bona fides with regard to his intention to bring something forward but my concern, particularly given where inflation is going, is that if there is any delay or lag in that, we could have the intolerable situation of the cap that has been in place as a result of the Government legislation being higher than the rent pressure zones. If the Minister brings something forward that tackles that issue, he will have willing allies on this side of the House but it needs to be done as a matter of urgency and preferably before inflation hits or passes 4%, as a precautionary measure. I ask that he give an indication of what he is proposing. That might give Deputies on this side of the House and renters some reassurance.

I was very clear at the time as to why I was bringing these measures through more quickly than I intended originally, that is, to deal with the 4% issue. On 8 July, I stated clearly in the House that, effectively, I would monitor it and keep it under review. I do not intend to delay on this issue. This was the fifth rent measure we brought forward within the 12-month period. I want to bring legislation forward in this term. We are working on it at the moment. The legislation I brought through the Houses in July means that we can also use other indices to look at capping those rent increases. Rents are too high. It was previously the case that rent increases were too high. That is why I brought in this legislation. We hope inflation will come down and that it will come down in the short to medium term but in that instance we have to consider other ways of capping to ensure it does not go above 4% and I intend to do that in this session. The joint committee will be involved in that also.

I thank the Minister. The crucial point is that the clock is ticking and that this was entirely foreseeable. In fact, I was not the only Deputy on the Opposition benches to say when the legislation was brought forward in May that this was likely to happen. If the Minister brings forward such a measure, it will get the support of the Opposition and, therefore, I urge him to bring it forward at the earliest possible opportunity. Of course, the worry is that a renter can currently face a rent increase of 3% if the landlord abides by the rules. We have seen from the recent Daft.ie and Residential Tenancies Board, RTB, reports that the overall level of rental inflation in quarter 2 was significantly above the 4% rent pressure zone cap. It is possible that, notwithstanding the link to the harmonised index, there could be general rental inflation above that level. We will find out whether that has been the case when we get the data from those two organisations for quarters 3 and 4. I hope we do not experience rental inflation at that level but, again, I am urging the Minister to be attuned to that because what we are also seeing now, as he is aware, is that due to Covid and people relocating, there are greater levels of rental inflation in areas where that had not traditionally been the case. The sooner he can bring forward this measure, the better.

I flagged this issue on 8 July, as did others, including Deputy Cian O'Callaghan. I raised this at the time that we were bringing forward measures quickly to deal with a particular issue. I flagged that I would be bringing forward a more comprehensive tenancy Bill in the autumn and we are going to do that. Let us not lose sight of the fact that the change the Government made by linking rent to inflation was significant. This inflationary effect has been in the very short term but the change the Government made was a big break with what happened in the past. Now we are linking rates to general inflation. Under the Act we passed, supported by the Deputy's party and others, thankfully, there are other options available to us and we are considering them right now. We are not going to delay on it. I note the Chairman of the joint committee, Deputy Matthews, is present. We will be seeking co-operation from all Members of the House to make sure any measures we bring forward are done efficiently, effectively and quickly.

Wastewater Treatment

Seán Canney


89. Deputy Seán Canney asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will make separate funding available to Irish Water to install wastewater treatment plants in towns and villages in which no such facility exists and in which housing cannot be built due to this lack of infrastructure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46452/21]

I wish to raise an issue relating to Irish Water and its funding. Will a separate funding mechanism be made available to Irish Water to install wastewater treatment plants in towns and villages where no such facility currently exists and where houses cannot be built as a result of this lack of infrastructure? This is an important issue.

I am aware of the demand for wastewater infrastructure in towns and villages where there is no access to public infrastructure, particularly in County Galway, which the Deputy represents, and other areas of the country.  Our Department builds its strategic water policy and infrastructure delivery programmes around the national planning framework 2018-2040 and the National Development Plan 2018-2027.  Investment is primarily delivered through Irish Water. Our Department operates the rural water programme directly.

The programme for Government supports the uptake of Irish Water's small towns and villages growth programme 2020-2024 which will provide water and wastewater growth capacity in smaller settlements that would otherwise not be provided for in Irish Water's capital investment plan. The current focus of the programme is on locations within existing public water services infrastructure. Irish Water is subject to independent economic regulation by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities. I understand an allocation of €97.5 million from the Department to Irish Water for this programme was approved by the commission.

Complementary to the Irish Water programme, the Department is currently examining wastewater requirements in the context of villages and settlements that do not have public wastewater infrastructure.  The Minister, Deputy O'Brien, has instructed the relevant officials in the Department to prepare a report on this topic at national level. This report will include the analysis of a baseline survey of all rural local authorities to quantify and qualify the number of villages and settlements concerned. This process is at an advanced stage and the Minister will be in a position to consider the matter further in respect of the villages and similar settlements identified in the survey once he has received the final report.

I thank the Minister of State for the reply, but it does not give me confidence that something will be done in the immediate future. Let us take the example of Athenry, a town all present know well. Three years ago, the wastewater treatment plant was expanded to take in additional capacity of all the housing estates in the town. There is a pipe network contract to be completed for that. It was supposed to be finished by now but it has not even started. What I mean by that is that surveys may be under way. The answer I get is that this could be done in 2025, pending funding. At the same time, there are housing estates where raw sewage is flowing around gardens. There is a similar situation in Craughwell, where there is no municipal treatment. I have video footage of people there looking out their back window at raw sewage coming in on top of them. This is an intolerable situation and it is an environmental time bomb. We do not need more reports. Rather, we need to get to the nub of the issue, that is, funding.

I agree with the Deputy regarding the situation in Athenry. It is unacceptable in this day and age that raw sewage could be flowing from people's houses. Our Department will certainly give consideration to that with Irish Water specifically. It is fair to say that Project Ireland 2040 supports the growth of small towns and villages with regard to water services infrastructure. The National Planning Framework 2018-20240 support proportionate growth of rural towns and a programme for new homes in small towns and villages with local authorities and public infrastructure agencies providing serviced sites, appropriate infrastructure to build homes and live in small towns and villages. I assure the Deputy that the particular situation in Athenry will be considered with Irish Water.

I thank the Minister of State for that. He talks about appropriate housing, appropriate ways of doing things and appropriate infrastructure. What about villages such as Abbeyknockmoy and Corofin where there is no municipal treatment plant and where no planning permission will be granted by the local authority or An Bord Pleanála because they say any development in these places is premature, pending the installation of a wastewater treatment plant? When I was a councillor in 2006 or 2007, before Irish Water came into being, there was a list of municipal treatment plants to be built by the local authority. There was a schedule. A feasibility study was done in Corofin. We are now in 2021, going into 2022, and that project is still not on the horizon. The Clare river, which runs right into Galway city, goes through the village. There are six existing housing estates. There is a threat of the village experiencing pollution in the not-too-distant future. We need to see the money coming in and the infrastructure being built.

We expect the report the Minister has commissioned in respect of requirements for smaller villages and settlements that do not have access to public water and wastewater infrastructure to be completed in the coming weeks.

It will be a help to answer the question posed by the Deputy. I appreciate that the preparation of the report includes a broad range of research and consultation with a large number of stakeholders, particularly local authorities. The research element of the report focuses on villages and similar settlements without public wastewater infrastructure in the context of compiling secondary data currently available and existing commitments made by Government to support the sustainable growth of rural economies and communities. At this stage, our Department has reported some high-level analysis of the survey results. These indicate that some 643 villages and similar settlements spread across 25 rural local authorities do not have access to public wastewater collection and treatment infrastructure. That is something we aim to address with Irish Water through the capital investment that we have in place.

Defective Building Materials

Eoin Ó Broin


90. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he is committed to introducing some form of redress mechanism for homeowners with defective homes in Budget 2022 arising out of the ongoing work of the independent working group examining the issue of defective housing. [46716/21]

As the Minister is aware, the programme for Government includes a commitment to "examine the issue of defective housing in the first twelve months of Government, having regard to the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing report, 'Safe as Houses'". That report included the call for a latent defects redress scheme for homeowners who are affected by fire safety and water ingress defects.

The group has been meeting, but it appears that it is much delayed. The 12-month deadline has not been met. I ask the Minister to give us an update on the work of the group. In particular, is he hopeful that there will be some form of support for these homeowners in budget 2022?

I thank the Deputy. As he has stated, the programme for Government indeed sets out a number of commitments in respect of this important policy area of building defects. It is a programme for Government that I, with colleagues in Fine Gael and the Green Party, negotiated, within which we afforded the proper objective to tackle this issue. It provides for an examination of defects in housing, having regard to the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing report, Safe as Houses.

In this context, I established a working group to examine defects in housing. The plenary working group has been meeting monthly since March 2021. It has met every month, with the exception of August, in addition to subgroup meetings. I have been fully briefed right the way through and actually attended the initial meetings of the group. The group’s terms of reference were adopted in May 2021. It took some time to get agreement. We wanted to ensure that there was agreement, particularly with the Apartment Owners' Network and the Construction Defects Alliance.

In regard to the working group’s deliberations, the group will seek to engage with a wide range of interested parties, which it is doing, including homeowners, public representatives, local authorities, product manufacturers, building professionals and industry stakeholders, among others, to examine the issue of defects in purpose-built apartment buildings and report to me on the matter. Consultation with the relevant parties has commenced and further arrangements in this regard are currently being put in place by the working group.

As the Deputy is aware, the group is being independently chaired. I am satisfied that the group is working effectively and efficiently on this complex matter. I look forward to a report in due course, following completion of the group’s deliberations. I am not putting the group under any pressure to do that. Once I receive the report, I can assure the Deputy that I will give full consideration to its contents and as to how we move forward. Any speculation on the output of the working group at this stage is, in my view, premature.

The difficulty is that, from memory, the Minister announced the working group in September 2020. He appointed the Chair in January or February. The group did not have its first meeting in March. A lot of time was wasted because, in my view, officials from the Minster's Department were trying to impose very restrictive terms of reference. That is a matter of public record. Thankfully, we have slightly better terms of reference now, but that wasted almost the full year within which the programme for Government promised for this group to do its work. That is no fault of the members of the group.

However, as the Minister is aware, the problem is that today there are families who are faced with paying very significant levies to tackle fire safety defects, some of whom are in the Minister's own constituency and he knows them well. If there is not some measure in the budget, even interim measures while the Minister is awaiting the full report, those families will have to wait another year before there is a prospect of any redress.

I know that the Minister cannot tell me what is in the budget and it has not been agreed, but can he provide these families with any indication that there may be something in the budget, even interim measures while he is awaiting the more comprehensive recommendations of the working group's report?

As the Deputy stated, it took time to get the group up and running and the terms of reference agreed. It was important that we got agreement from all involved as to the terms of reference, to move it forward and to put it on an independent footing. It is fair to say that it took some time to get the terms of reference agreed. Again, I did not want to pressure people into having terms of reference imposed upon them, because it is the homeowners and apartment owners who we want to help in this regard. We are very serious about doing that. To be fair, in the last Dáil, and in this one too, we have taken a cross-party approach to this issue, which is a most serious issue societally. I know it well in my own constituency of Dublin Fingal. I am committed to delivering on this issue. I do not want to rush the group in finishing its work. What I will say is that a suite of options and recommendations will be put forward. As Minister, I am serious about moving that forward to help people. I know of apartment complexes where people have been asked to pay levies of €15,000 to €20,000. It is a very heavy fee for them to pay.

Deliberations are important and it is important that we get it right. I do not want to rush it. However, as soon as the report comes to me, it will be considered.

Nobody is asking the Minister to put pressure on the group to rush the report; it is the very opposite. However, interim measures could have been considered. For example, for over two years now, the Construction Defects Alliance has been calling for access for homeowners who have had to pay those levies of €10,000 to €20,000 to the same treatment as private landlords currently have, whereby they can write off the cost of capital improvements against future tax liabilities, although preferably over a shorter period of time. That is something the Minister could have done, or at least argued with his Cabinet colleagues to have included in this budget.

My question - and it is not an attempt to get the Minister to rush the final work of the group - is whether there have been any discussions or is there any prospect of any interim measures being included in budget 2022, either for those who, through no fault of their own, have had to pay the levies this year or last year under pressure from their insurance companies, or for those who may be forced to pay next year because of the delays in the deliberations of the working group, which, again, are no fault of the majority of the members of that group?

I understand that point being made by the Deputy. The Construction Defects Alliance did make a pre-budget submission which I received. It has also gone to the Department of Finance for consideration. Regardless of any measures in this future budget, which has not been decided, we want to help these homeowners. We want to put a process in place that will be sustainable into the future. Unfortunately, there are potentially thousands of homes affected by this issue. There is a cost involved and a duty to the sector and to those who built these homes in a defective way, to insurers, to banks, and indeed, to the construction sector. That is something we are also looking at.

I know the Deputy is not asking us to rush a decision on this. A pre-budget submission has been received and is with the Department of Finance. I received a copy of it. However, my big focus is on helping the group to conclude its work. I expect that when the report is concluded, it will go to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage for further deliberations as to how we can move forward.

Approved Housing Bodies

Carol Nolan


91. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if his Department conducts any oversight or reviews with respect to the way funding provided to approved housing associations is spent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46006/21]

I wish to raise the issue of reviews, or indeed monitoring, of the funding given to housing bodies. Regarding approved housing bodies, AHBs, does the Department conduct any reviews or monitoring of how the money is spent by these bodies?

Approved housing bodies are a key delivery partner for the provision of social and affordable housing.  My Department does not administer funds directly to AHBs, rather, it is primarily provided to local authorities which, in turn, advance the funding to AHBs.  Social housing provision through AHBs can only be provided with the approval and oversight of the local authority. Specifically in respect of the cost rental equity loan, my Department provides the funding directly to the Housing Agency, which administers the scheme, and the agency then advances the funds to the AHBs as projects are progressed.

As with all funding provided by my Department, funding for the local authorities that support AHBs is fully compliant with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform requirements relating to the management of and accountability for grants from Exchequer funds.  Furthermore, detailed grant approval, payment and performance monitoring arrangements are operated by my Department on funding approvals involving AHBs, consistent with the public spending code and the capital works management framework. My own Department’s arrangements in this regard are subject to the oversight of the Comptroller and Auditor General while, additionally, the activities of our local authorities involving AHBs are subject to audit by the Local Government Audit Service as part of its annual financial audit of local authority financial statements. 

A new strengthened regulatory regime for AHBs has also been put in place. The Approved Housing Bodies Regulatory Authority, AHBRA, was formally established on 1 February 2021. A key role of the authority is to encourage and facilitate better governance, administration and management, including corporate governance and financial management, of the AHB sector.

I thank the Minister of State for that response. While I am aware that the responsibility falls primarily on the local authorities, does the Minister of State not believe it might be necessary or proper for the Department to have some oversight of the expenditure? Residents of Chesterfield Close, Birr, County Offaly, who are going through the housing body Respond, have been waiting for a considerable time for their houses to be properly insulated. What is happening is a bit rich coming from a Government that has talked about energy efficiency and bringing homes to an energy rating of B2 in the programme for Government. Surely if there is no oversight by the Department, it speaks volumes. A significant amount of taxpayers' money is involved. Since 2016, €250 million has been received by Respond. Does the Minister of State not believe it is appropriate for the Department to have oversight of expenditure?

It is appropriate. The Department has adequate oversight. In the first instance, I would point the Deputy to the investigation of the Comptroller and Auditor General, the report on which was published in 2018. Three recommendations were made in respect of the Department and the AHB sector, namely, recommendations 10.1 to 10.3. We sent a response in March 2021 stating that all the recommendations had been fully implemented and that there was full compliance. Aside from that, we are establishing the AHBRA, which will provide an extra layer of governance and safeguard the public finances. All eight schemes that are currently approved by the Department are in line with the public spending code and all circulars issued through the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Therefore, there are significant, robust safeguards in place to ensure public funds are spent adequately and that value for money is obtained.

I acknowledge that the Minister of State mentioned that three recommendations were made in 2018 but I am wondering about his reference to the regulatory authority. What measures will be taken in terms of oversight? The taxpayer is entitled to know precisely what measures will be taken and the monitoring that will be done. Surely it would make sense to monitor yearly. A housing body has been in receipt of €250 million since 2016. While it is building some new homes, it is not carrying out the basic maintenance of homes. Chesterfield Close, Birr, is a prime example. There are 26 houses and apartments, all of which need proper insulation. This is a basic need. Why are the basic maintenance needs not addressed by a housing body that has been in receipt of €250 million since 2016? These are the questions the Department needs to be asking. I have brought this issue up with the Minister, Deputy Darragh O'Brien, in the past. It is certainly one on which I will continue to ask questions.

I am not aware of the specific case but I can confirm that the AHB sector has constructed, since 2016, over 15,000 units. Of those, 60% were either through building or Part V. That is a significant aspect.

On the new regulatory regime that is going to be established, internal audit procedures will be set up. There will be monitoring of financial risk and it will be ensured that proper books of account are held. Currently, there is significant oversight under the public sector spending code, the circulars of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Local Government Audit Service. All are watching in on behalf of the public to ensure the funds are spent appropriately. If the Deputy has a concern about a particular AHB, the mechanisms exist for her to raise it. I encourage her to do so because the oversight exists. The teeth are sharp and ready to respond in any of these areas. Half a billion euro was put into the AHB sector last year, and that is delivering houses on the ground for all our citizens.

Housing Provision

Eoin Ó Broin


92. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the reason his Department is using the public spending code as an excuse for not directly funding Dublin City Council to develop the site at Oscar Traynor Road as a fully public housing development in the most cost-effective and affordable manner. [46717/21]

My question is to ask the Minister's Department the reason it is using the public spending code as an excuse for not directly funding Dublin City Council to develop the Oscar Traynor Road as a fully public housing development in the most cost-effective and affordable manner.

This is the question in the name of Deputy Ó Broin.

Investment in social and affordable housing is a major component of the State's capital expenditure. Under Housing for All, there is to be a sum of over €4 billion per year, which dwarfs the €2.9 billion the Deputy's party proposed as part of its submission on Housing for All.

As Minister, it is my duty to ensure that capital investment projects are prepared and delivered to achieve maximum value for money. The Deputy might agree with that. The public spending code sets out the value-for-money requirements for the evaluation, planning and management of public investment projects in Ireland. That is public money – taxpayers' money, Exchequer money.

During project life cycles, sponsoring agencies, or local authorities in the case of social and affordable housing, must consider and evaluate such matters as project rationale, options appraisal, both financial and economic, and procurement strategies. As approving authority, my Department, and the Government in the case of public funding in excess of €100 million, must assess and approve projects as they advance through stages of the life cycle. Considering the question that Deputies Ó Broin and Mitchell put, I do not regard it as appropriate and prudent to set aside the requirements of the public spending code in respect of any proposed public expenditure of this scale. It is incredible that the Deputies would.

Increasing the supply of social and affordable homes is a priority, clearly shown in our Housing for All strategy, on which we just had statements and on which we will have more tomorrow. Following the recent launch of the strategy, I issued last week social housing targets to all chief executives, including in Dublin City Council. Of the national target of over 50,000 new social homes, I am asking Dublin City Council to deliver nearly 9,100 in the years in question through its own projects and working with the Housing Agency.

The site at Oscar Traynor Road is located in an area with a clear need for social housing. My Department and I have consistently supported Dublin City Council's efforts to advance the proposal on the site, including through an agreement in principle on funding the social homes and supporting affordable purchase homes through the affordable housing fund, the serviced site fund. This is specifically what was asked for. I will come back to the Deputy on the other points.

I thank the Minister for his response but, as he is aware, earlier this year the majority of councillors on Dublin City Council proposed a plan that would deliver genuinely affordable, social and cost-rental homes for workers and families on Oscar Traynor Road. Councillors look to the Minister to deliver in this regard. He and his Department are using the public spending code as a cop-out. He is hiding behind his Department. I look to him to make the plan a reality.

When will he ensure that we will have public homes on this public land? This is what the councillors are asking of him, and this is what the many people who are caught up in the housing crisis are also asking of him.

That was a good sound bite but let us get to reality. Under the Affordable Housing Act, I have-----


Deputy Gould might find the housing crisis funny-----

I find the Minister's responses funny.

He has been at this all evening. He is kind of giddy this evening. He should just relax there for a minute and we will get back to the facts.

The fact of the matter here is that the proposed development at Oscar Traynor Road has the potential to deliver well over 800 new homes, as Deputy Mitchell knows, in addition to extensive community and recreational facilities. The Deputy may be aware that Dublin City Council has indicated that any new plan would have to revert to the drawing board in that there would have to be a lengthy design, planning and procurement process. The Deputy's colleagues in the council were told that this could delay the project by more than five years. I am not going to stand over that so I have met both lord mayors, including the current one. We will support any revisions to the plan that make sense so we can deliver social and affordable homes at the site, which I visited as recently as July. I met residents in the area who want homes on the site. There should be no more delays and objections from Sinn Féin; rather, there should be real delivery of real homes for real people.

As the Minister said, workers and families out in the community are crying out for real, affordable social and cost-rental housing. The proposals the Minister is talking about that were put before the council are - is everyone ready? - €450,000 for a three-bedroom apartment and €1,500 in respect of a month's rent for a two-bedroom apartment.

The Minister will agree with me that this is crazy and that it is not affordable. He can be the Minister who delivers 100% public housing on public lands on the Oscar Traynor site by supporting our councillors. He can cut through the red tape and fast-track this plan. Does the Minister want to do this? Will he do this?

This Government has a real plan to deliver affordable and social homes. That might look good on the Deputy's social media pages for her little sound bite.

It is not my social media. This is what the council has been given.

I did not interrupt the Deputy once. Does she want to hear what is really happening?

In the affordable housing fund that we launched, we can increase the subvention up to €100,000, which is exactly what Dublin City Council, DCC, was seeking and doing it for. The plan that Sinn Féin has for Oscar Traynor Road, in the Deputy's constituency, would drive this project back five, six or seven years and I am not going to-----

No, the Minister can cut through. We are going to ask the people to pay €1,500 per month for cost rental.

Deputy Mitchell might not be aware or she just might not want to hear the facts.

These are the facts.

There is hardly any point in trying to answer a question if the Deputy does not want to hear the answer. I met the former Lord Mayor Hazel Chu, the Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland and senior executives in DCC because we want to move this forward. I am serious about delivering homes for real people, not sound bites or stunts in the Dáil.

This is not a sound bite.

The reality is that we made the changes that DCC has sought. The question is whether Sinn Féin councillors will vote for a revised plan that will deliver homes for people. Its track record up until now is that it has not, and we are going to do it.

Thank you Minister, I am moving on. We are over time.

That is not affordable.

The Deputy does not want to hear the answer.

I am moving on. This is the end.

In what world is that affordable?

They are the facts, I am afraid. We will deliver homes at Oscar Traynor Road for real people in the area.

The Minister is on a different planet if he thinks €450,000 is affordable.

It might not suit the Deputy, though.

Can we have a little co-operation más é do thoil é?