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Government accused of 'spin' on social home-build numbers

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Catherine Murphy spoke out

Catherine Murphy spoke out

Catherine Murphy spoke out

Housing Department officials were accused of "spin" when they appeared before the Dail's spending watchdog to present figures for the number of social homes built last year.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) heard from Housing Department secretary general John McCarthy that about one in four homes built last year were social housing homes, and that the new-build figure was 85pc up on 2017.

However, Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy claimed the department was engaged in "spin".

She said the way the figures were presented "give the impression that we're really getting ahead of a crisis that's there".

She said the presentation was not a "fair reflection" on the extent of the housing crisis.

Mr McCarthy said he "absolutely wouldn't accept that there's any element of spin involved here".

Ethical

Fianna Fail TD Shane Cassells referred to the use of the department's Rebuilding Ireland Twitter account to share posts by the Taoiseach and Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy that featured the Fine Gael logo and highlighted housing figures.

He said that a department retweeting posed "major ethical issues".

Mr McCarthy said he was not familiar with the retweets and said there was no directive from Mr Murphy to the department about such posts.

He said he would "look into it".

The department last night said the tweets were shared "in error" and the retweets have now been removed from the Rebuilding Ireland account.

Leo Varadkar was asked about the latest homeless figures - 9,987 in January - by another Oireachtas committee.

He said that the numbers were "disappointing" and that he wanted to see them fall rather than stabilise at about 10,000.


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