Council doesn’t dispute Martin Ferris claim that it built just 5 houses last year

Kerry County Council says it doesn’t dispute a statement by TD Martin Ferris that it built just five local authority houses last year.

The Sinn Féin deputy made the statement during a Dáil debate on his party’s motion of no confidence in Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy.

During an exchange with constituency rival, Fine Gael junior minister Brendan Griffin on Tuesday, Deputy Martin Ferris said 145 constituents, of which 36 were children, were sleeping in hostels and beds and breakfasts.

He said there could be more than 4,000 applicants on Kerry County Council’s housing list by the end of this year.

He said the council built just five houses last year.

Kerry County Council says last year, it provided 10 homes in Kerry  – five through direct construction and the remainder were turnkey properties.

It says 861 new tenancies were also delivered during 2017.

The council says it has a number of construction schemes underway at present through the Rebuilding Ireland programme.

It adds that 20 new homes were recently opened in Killarney by Minister Eoghan Murphy while planning has also been approved for 28 houses at Balloonagh, Tralee.

Separately, Deputy Ferris has defended his use of expletives aimed at Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil during the Dáil debate.

He said the Government and Fianna Fáil were portraying Minister Murphy as a victim when the real victims are the homeless and those who find themselves in hostels and B&Bs.