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Housing Minister: housing crisis partly driven by economic migrants

The Housing Minister, Darragh O’Brien, has said that recent rise in the number of people homeless in Ireland is partly driven by economic migrants arriving in Ireland without accommodation.

The Minister told the On The Record podcast on Newstalk that economic migrants were coming to Ireland from both the European Economic Area and outside that area and going straight to homeless facilities.

9,825 people are currently homeless in Ireland which represents an increase of 3.5% on the previous month. When asked about the rise in homelessness, the Minister affirmed that the economic migrants coming to Ireland were not fleeing war but were seeking a better life, but they were “arriving in and seeking homeless supports”.

When asked by the presenter why someone would move to Ireland to enter homeless facilities, the Minister said he wasn’t going to speculate on that.

Mr O’Brien joined Gavan Reilly to talk about the “accommodation crisis”, and discussed plans that might include restricting short-term lettings such as those advertised on Air BnB, and regulating those platforms.

He also said the rental sector was seeing large numbers of landlords selling out of the private rental market, due in part to the high house prices, and that the government was addressing this by increasing supply.

His comments on the rise in homelessness being driven by economic migrants come as the Central Bank identified immigration as a key driver in the housing market.

The Minister’s comments attracted considerable attention on social media, with several observing that government policy was driving immigration rates.


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