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Fianna Fail all set to take housing reins

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Simon Coveney is set to stay as Foreign Affairs Minister

Simon Coveney is set to stay as Foreign Affairs Minister

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Simon Coveney is set to stay as Foreign Affairs Minister

Fianna Fail is set to take charge of the housing crisis if a new government is elected this weekend.

The party has been pushing for the housing portfolio during negotiations with Fine Gael and is expected to land the department if a deal is done.

The new Fianna Fail housing minister will oversee a 50,000 social housing construction programme along with a major affordable housing scheme to allow first-time buyers to get on the property ladder.

Horrid

It is also understood negotiations are ongoing over which party should take control of the Department of Health.

"You couldn't have another Fine Gael housing minister but you could leave them in health with the pandemic still being an issue," a Fianna Fail source said.

Over the last five years, Fianna Fail has been extremely critical of Fine Gael's approach to the housing crisis. The party is planning a major shake-up of the State's approach to the building of new homes.

However, a Fine Gael source warned Fianna Fail is going to have a "horrid time" in the Department of Housing.

The source said the programme for government was "written by Fine Gael and wrapped in wool that allows Fianna Fail and the Greens to tout wins that are completely unrealistic".

Meanwhile, Simon Coveney is expected to remain Foreign Affairs Minister and focus on Brexit negotiations and Ireland's term on the UN Security Council.

It comes as a Green Party source said several constituency organisations had reported back to headquarters that support for the coalition deal was as high as 70pc in some areas. It comes after a poll of 185 members of the party's youth wing, the Young Greens, showed almost 66pc against the deal.

However, a senior Green Party figure said this was a good result for the party.