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Fine Gael says it won't be punished by voters over housing crisis

Voters will not "punish" Fine Gael over the deepening housing crisis on Friday, the party's European director of elections has claimed.

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty claimed while the public is "critical", it "does not mean there is an anger out there or a want for change".

At a Fine Gael campaign event at Dublin City on Wednesday morning, Ms Doherty said while candidates understand the difficulties with the housing crisis they are not being targeted over it by voters.

Despite wide-scale public anger over the deepening problems, which now mean more than 10,000 people are homeless in Ireland including almost 4,000 children - she claimed Fine Gael will not be punished over the situation on Friday.

"Housing is still an issue, we recognise that. It is one of our largest priorities. If it wasn't coming up on the doors I think there would be something wrong.

"Everyone recognises that the solutions are there but they haven't materialised in finding a home for everybody. The plan is working, we are only halfway through a five-year programme.

Yes, people are discussing it with us on the doors which is why we are trying to bring each and every option of houses to people to give them choices.

"I really don't think that people are going to punish us. People are engaging with us. Yes, they are being critical of some policies but that does not mean that there is an anger out there, or there is a want for change.

"We have a five year plan, it is working. We will keep going until everybody who wants a home, has a home," she said.

Ms Doherty separately said she does not believe it was bad timing for Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy to raise his co-living accommodation plans just days out from MEP and local elections, a divorce referendum and three plebiscites.

Asked by the Irish Examiner if it was the wrong time to raise the plan and if it will back-fire on Fine Gael candidates, Ms Doherty said: "Ah look, that [opposition criticism] is because we're in election week and the opposition would have a row with their own fingernails if they thought it would benefit them.

"Our job is to have a solution for each and every citizen in this country to find them a home.

You know what, we bring up something and we're told we're electioneering to get votes. We bring up something and we're told it's going to damage us. We're in Government, it's our job to do what we're supposed to do in Government.

"I know we're all dying to get out and vote on Friday and hopefully win, and that's great, but at the end of the day we are a very stable, very active Government over the last number of years with a big plan, and that's what we're going to keep doing."

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