Eoghan Murphy hits out at critics of 'trendy' co-living suggestion for young people

Eoghan Murphy hits out at critics of 'trendy' co-living suggestion for young people

Update 3.45pm: Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has accused critics of co-living of wrongly assuming it is the Government's solution for families in emergency accommodation.

He says the concept is suitable for approximately 1% of renters and that "homes are the answer" for the rest.

"I was asked this morning were co-living spaces like prisons and based on what I have seen in other cities they are not. My analogy in response wasn't a good one," he tweeted this afternoon.

"But co-living elicits outrage in some because they wrongly assume it's what we propose as a response to families in crisis. It is not.

"Our response to the housing crisis is to build over 20,000 new homes - houses and apartments - this year. None of them co-living spaces. Our response next year is to build even more new homes.

"Homes are the answer for the vast vast majority. Co-living is targeted at approximately 1% of renters."

Earlier today the Minister suggested co-living as an option for young workers starting their first jobs. He compared the concept to trendy hotels he had seen abroad.

"It's something I'd seen abroad in other cities, where you have your own private room, en suite, but you also have shared community spaces - a gym, a movie room, a games room potentially, a kitchen, a living room.

"It's more like a very trendy, kind of boutique hotel type place."

Among the critics of Minister Murphy's comments today is People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett, who said the Minister "simply does not understand the housing crisis".

"For Eoghan Murphy to claim these are ‘trendy’ or suitable in any way for people who are in dire need of decent affordable accommodation is simply shocking.

These comments show that the Minister for Housing is living on another planet and simply does not understand the housing crisis.

"For the Minister to make these remarks is really quite appalling in that the comment seem to indicate that he and the government are content that hotel type arrangements are satisfactory for permanent living."

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD also criticised the Housing Minister's comments, saying he is offering the Irish public "gentrified tenements".

“On this day of abject failure all Minister Murphy has to offer people is co-living," he said.

“He has very little understanding of what the thousands of people living through his housing crisis actually need. No one I speak to is remotely excited about this style of living and many are questioning what planet this Minister is living on.

"Would Minister Murphy happily exist in 18sqm of expensive space for access to a games room?

"All the Minister is doing is defending the indefensible. This is all he has offer which indicates that the government has run out of ideas."

Fianna Fáil's spokesperson on Housing, Darragh O'Brien TD, added that the Housing Minister is "so unbelievably out of touch he now believes his own PR spin".

The controversial co-living planning application being discussed came from developer Bartra Capital Property Group.

An Bord Pleanala previously refused Bartra’s plans to develop 222 co-living spaces and 160 apartments across three blocks in the former Cookstown industrial estate in Tallaght.

When refusing the permission, the planning board said the co-living element “had a notable shortfall in the quantitative and qualitative provisions of sufficient communal facilities”.

The group also attracted criticism for plans to develop a 208-bed “co-living” block on a former school site in Dun Laoghaire.

The original plans for this site included a proposal for one kitchen per 40 residents.

Ireland is currently suffering the worst homeless crisis in the history of the state, with over 10,250 people homeless in May 2019.

Additional reporting by PA

Earlier: 'They will do that for six months' - Murphy defends co-living as short term solution for young workers

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy

Update 10.38am: Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has accused critics of co-living of misrepresenting the concept.

He says the concept is only aimed at young workers staying for about six months to a year.

A development planned by Bartra Capital in Dún Laoghaire proposed to charge €1,300 a month for a private room - sharing a kitchen with dozens of others.

Critics said it offered a low standard of living -- and it was refused by council planners.

Minister Murphy says young people don't necessarily want to share a home with just only a few others.

"They're not yet at the point where they want to live with one other person or two other people.

"They will do (co-living) for six or 12 months until they are six or 12 months into their first job," he explained.

"The problem is when the co-living was presented by some people they were trying to present it that this is what we were saying this is what we wanted the new rental market to look like - it is not."

The Minister added that he believes only direct state intervention can fix the Irish housing system.

It's three years to the day since the launch of Rebuilding Ireland -- the government's flagship housing programme.

"It's something I'd seen abroad in other cities, where you have your own private room, en suite, but you also have shared community spaces - a gym, a movie room, a games room potentially, a kitchen, a living room.

"It's more like a very trendy, kind of boutique hotel type place.

"I can see people coming here to Ireland who can't sign a 12 month lease because they're not going to be here for 12 months maybe, who don't want to share a place with three strangers and who want to have a bit of privacy, but also a bit of that communal or social aspect to living."

However, Mr Murphy said that "less than one per cent" of new places to live this year will be co-living. "It's an option for some, but only a very few people."

- Additional reporting Vivienne Clarke

More on this topic

Fianna Fáil TD would back motion of no-confidence in GovernmentFianna Fáil TD would back motion of no-confidence in Government

First-time buyers leaving capital for Dublin's commuter beltFirst-time buyers leaving capital for Dublin's commuter belt

Former Housing Minister: 'The sooner this Government goes, the better'Former Housing Minister: 'The sooner this Government goes, the better'

Politicians ‘utterly failing’ on housing, accused of 'Wendy house' policies to fix crisisPoliticians ‘utterly failing’ on housing, accused of 'Wendy house' policies to fix crisis


More in this Section

HSE: 120 people could die from the flu this winter HSE: 120 people could die from the flu this winter

Jury continues deliberations in Mitchelstown murder trialJury continues deliberations in Mitchelstown murder trial

Flu vaccine uptake by people aged over 65 reaches 62%Flu vaccine uptake by people aged over 65 reaches 62%

Cork man serving life sentence appeals murder conviction Cork man serving life sentence appeals murder conviction


Lifestyle

The Marquee in Cork dominated the gig news this week, with a string of announcements for what is expected to be the final year at the Monahan Road venue before the site is developedScene + Heard: The most played artist on Spotify and all the latest music news

Esther N McCarthy picks perfect paperweights, brilliant books and Christmas collectables this week.Brilliant books and Christmas collectables - here's our wish list

John Spillane tells Ellie O’Byrne how he’s hoping to fund his next album by taking the bardic route of writing unique compositions for people on whatever they’d like‘I’ll write you a song for €1,000' - John Spillane's unique way to fund new album

From starring in a Cork-set film, to securing a role in Ridley Scott’s major new HBO series, it has been quite a year for Niamh Algar, writes Esther McCarthyIreland’s next big thing: Niamh Algar on her incredible year

More From The Irish Examiner