Taoiseach defends Eoghan Murphy's controversial 'co-living' comments

The Taoiseach claimed the Sinn Féin leader was "engaging in misrepresentation" as Mr Murphy had made the comments in relation to co-living in general and not any particular development.

The Taoiseach has defended the controversial co-living model of accommodation in the Dáil, stating it is part of the solution to the housing crisis.

Leo Varadkar said co-living options will not replace houses and apartments but would provide another option for people, particularly single people who don't want to house share.

Sinn Féin president Mary-Lou McDonald hit out at the Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy for describing co-living as 'exciting'.

She referred to a proposed development of studio apartments in Dun Laoghaire which she said would be "around the size of a parking space".

On one floor it is proposed that 42 people will share one kitchen and for this exciting proposal as the Minister would put it, rent would be in excess of €1,300 per month.

"That's €1,300 for what amounts to tenement living," she said.

"Minister Murphy is so out of touch that he can't seem to grasp that this co-living isn't an answer to the housing crisis or the rental crisis, it is in fact and insult to those seeking a safe and secure roof over their head," Ms McDonald told the Dáil.

But the Taoiseach claimed the Sinn Féin leader was "engaging in misrepresentation" as Mr Murphy had made the comments in relation to co-living in general and not any particular development.

"What she is trying to do now is dishonest and disingenuous," he said.

Mr Varadkar said the current controversy relates to one development in Dun Laoghaire which has not yet been granted planning permission.

He said any development where 42 people would share a kitchen would not be in line with Government policy:

I would anticipate that An Bord Pleanála would either refuse or significantly modify any planning permission that is not in line with Government guidelines

Solidarity-PBP TD Richard Boyd-Barrett made a direct plea to Mr Murphy asking him to submit an observation on the project to An Bord Pleanála.

However, Mr Murphy told the Dáil that it wouldn't be appropriate for him to make an observation, claiming it would be an "abuse of power".

Speaking outside Leinster House, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said co-living initiatives could be seen as "battery cage type accommodation".

"Are we going back to the era of tenements again in Dublin?" he asked.

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