The first big test for Darragh O’Brien as Minister for Housing will be the launch of his affordable homes scheme in September.
Within days of taking office he promised to deliver homes at “prices in the region of €160,000 to €250,000 on a shared equity basis”.
Neither the Fianna Fáil election manifesto nor the new minister’s subsequent statements on the matter provide any detail as to how this will be done. In fact, O’Brien’s most recent comments suggest he is moving away from the direct delivery of genuinely affordable homes by local authorities and approved housing bodies.
On August 20, in a rather confusing briefing to the Irish Independent, he appeared to embrace industry calls for a government sector shared equity scheme for private house purchases.
This would be a significant policy shift and represent a backward step on the already underperforming affordable housing scheme of Eoghan Murphy, the former housing
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