O’brien ‘rel­ishes’ new hous­ing role

Fingal Independent - - FRONT PAGE - By KEN PHELAN

FIANNA Fáil TD Dar­ragh O’brien has se­cured his seat on the new Gov­ern­ment Cab­i­net, be­com­ing the new Min­is­ter for Hous­ing in the in­com­ing Fianna Fáil/fine Gael/green Party coali­tion and en­sur­ing a seat at the Cab­i­net ta­ble for Fingal.

Speak­ing to The Fingal In­de­pen­dent, Min­is­ter O’brien said : ‘I’m ab­so­lutely de­lighted, I’ve a real par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est in hous­ing and I be­lieve I can bring a lot to that port­fo­lio to end home­less­ness and make things bet­ter for peo­ple, to de­liver af­ford­able hous­ing and de­liver more pub­lic hous­ing.’

Tak­ing on the dif­fi­cult is­sue of hous­ing, he said: ‘I’ve never shirked a chal­lenge and I’m al­ways up for a chal­lenge and that’s why I re­ally rel­ish this.

‘Will I get ev­ery­thing right? No, I wont’, but I’ll tell you what, we’re go­ing to do things dif­fer­ently.’

FIANNA Fáil TD Dar­ragh O’brien has se­cured his seat on the new Gov­ern­ment Cab­i­net, be­com­ing the new Min­is­ter for Hous­ing in the in­com­ing Fianna Fáil/ Fine Gael/green Party coali­tion and en­sur­ing a seat at the Cab­i­net ta­ble for Fingal.

Min­is­ter O’brien, as party spokesper­son on hous­ing, plan­ning and lo­cal gov­ern­ment in the last Dáil, had pre­vi­ously shown great in­ter­est in the port­fo­lio, and sets out with the chal­lenge of ad­dress­ing the coun­try’s on­go­ing hous­ing cri­sis.

Speak­ing to The Fingal In­de­pen­dent, Min­is­ter O’brien gave his re­ac­tion to the news: ‘I’m ab­so­lutely de­lighted, I’ve a real par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est in hous­ing and I be­lieve I can bring a lot to that port­fo­lio to end home­less­ness and make things bet­ter for peo­ple, to de­liver af­ford­able hous­ing and de­liver more pub­lic hous­ing.

‘It’s a very im­por­tant port­fo­lio, so I was hon­oured when the new Taoiseach called me up to ask me to take on the role.’

The newly-ap­pointed Min­is­ter said: ‘There’s lit­er­ally hun­dreds of mes­sages I got from all over the con­stituency, from Bal­brig­gan to Sk­er­ries to Malahide to Swords to Don­abate.

‘All the good wishes are greatly ap­pre­ci­ated, and peo­ple feel it’s an hon­our for our con­stituency too, and I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to the task.’

Min­is­ter O’brien said his first pri­or­ity as hous­ing Min­is­ter will be to work to­wards tack­ling the home­less­ness cri­sis, which he feels is an achiev­able ob­jec­tive.

Se­condly, he says, pri­or­ity will be given to de­liv­er­ing homes for work­ing peo­ple, and to this end says the fo­cus must now be on the de­liv­ery of an af­ford­able homes scheme.

An ‘ab­so­lute core pol­icy’, he adds, will be to­wards get­ting lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to start build­ing homes too.

On why he was in­ter­ested in such a chal­leng­ing brief, he says: ‘I sup­pose I see the prob­lems in my job as a TD - it’s acute.

‘The amount of peo­ple that are in con­tact with me that have been on the hous­ing list for eight or nine years, peo­ple who have been home­less or are home­less, peo­ple can’t af­ford to buy homes or can’t af­ford to rent.

‘It’s some­thing that I see in Fingal and that I feel, and I re­ally feel for peo­ple.

‘We’ve been given (strong sup­port) from peo­ple across the con­stituency, and

I’m re­ally de­lighted with that, and I re­ally just want to get on with the job now.

‘I’ve never shirked a chal­lenge and I’m al­ways up for a chal­lenge and that’s why I re­ally rel­ish this.

‘Will I get ev­ery­thing right? No, I wont’, but I’ll tell you what, we’re go­ing to do things dif­fer­ently.’

Min­is­ter O’brien said that his ap­point­ment to the Cab­i­net would not have been pos­si­ble with­out the sup­port of the peo­ple in Dublin Fingal.

He said, ‘I’m hon­oured to have been ap­pointed Min­is­ter for Hous­ing, Plan­ning and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and I look for­ward to the chal­lenge ahead.

‘If it were not for the sup­port, I re­ceived in the Gen­eral Elec­tion back in Fe­bru­ary I would not be in this much val­ued po­si­tion and I am deeply grate­ful to the peo­ple in Fingal who voted for me.’

He con­cluded: ‘Prior to the Gen­eral Elec­tion, as Fianna Fáil Spokesper­son on Hous­ing, I was acutely aware of the chal­lenges that peo­ple the length and breadth of the county were fac­ing in hous­ing and I will be get­ting stuck in to ad­dress­ing those.’

The newly-ap­pointed Min­is­ter for Hous­ing, Dar­ragh O’brien TD with Taoiseach, Micheál Martin.

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