Picket outside Housing Agency HQ to protest Conor Skehan re-appointment

A picket will take place outside the Housing Agency's HQ later in a protest at the re-appointment of chairperson Conor Skehan.

Mr Skehan has been under pressure since an interview with the Irish Times, during which he stated: "We (ie the Government) unwittingly created a problem by prioritising self-declared homelessness above all other types of housing need, which created a distortion in the waiting list system and may have encouraged people to game the system."

Solidarity TDs are leading today's lunchtime protest at the Housing Agency in Dublin.

Homelessness charities have also criticised Mr Skehan's comments.

"There's no evidence whatsoever to support a claim like this," Niamh Randall, a spokesperson for the Simon Communities.

"And I would be very clear on this, that as the Chair of the Housing Agency, there's a responsibility in relation to what kind of comments you would make and what kind of information you share - and therefore if there was a concern of this nature, then presumably the onus was on the Housing Agency to maybe look at exploring that.

"And that's not what happened here."

The Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy last week reappointed him to the position, despite the comments.

Mr Skehan is reported to be keen to move on from the role, which was due to finish on December 12 and which he has occupied since 2013, but no suitable replacement could be found in recent weeks. The role is unpaid.

The Department of Housing said that Mr Skehan will only stay in the role for up to one more y​ear until a suitable replacement ​is found.

Mr Skehan, who has also called for performance targets for charities working in the sector, will now continue in the role until the end of this year.​

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