No replacement for Willie Penrose has Minister for Housing has been made because Labour leader Eamon Gilmore has yet to propose someone to fill the vacant junior ministry, according to Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
Taking questions in the Dáil this morning, Mr Kenny explained that the brief made vacant by the resignation of Deputy Penrose had not been filled because no nominee had been put forward.
“The Tánaiste will make his recommendation… when he decides to do that,” Kenny said.
Kenny was speaking in response to questions from Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams who accused the government of doing little to combat homelessness.
“You can stand on the plinth and see the grim reality of homelessness in this city,” Adams said, saying an increasing number of older people may be forced into homelessness by the government’s “Scrooge-like policies”.
“Do you not take the homeless and the housing crisis seriously – and if you do, when will you make an appointment?” he asked.
The Taoiseach replied that the government was “well aware of the nature of the problem, of the scale of the problem, and will do what it can to alleviate this”.
The Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan, has assumed the duties of Penrose’s brief while the position remains absent.
Penrose quit the cabinet last month over its decision to close the military barracks at Mullingar, close to his Longford-Westmeath base of Ballynacarrigy.