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Sharp exchanges Taoiseach insists he had a far more difficult upbringing than Mary Lou McDonald

Mr Martin became angered after being told by Ms McDonald that only immediate action in aid of Generation Rent would demonstrate that he 'finally gets it'

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Taoiseach Micheal Martin

Taoiseach Micheal Martin

Taoiseach Micheal Martin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has told Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald that he had a far more difficult upbringing than she.

Ms McDonald enjoyed a “far different” youth, the Taoiseach said in a remarkably personal exchange in the Dáil.

Mr Martin became angered after being told by Ms McDonald that only immediate actions now in aid of Generation Rent would demonstrate that he “finally gets it.”

Mr Martin told the private school and university educated Ms McDonald: “You paint a narrative in terms of me, as if I've been divorced from reality.

He added: “Don’t you dare lecture me. I understand realities of life as well as anybody else in this House.”

Mr Martin said that he didn’t “pretend” to understand those realities any more than anyone else.

“But I know a thing or two about people being in difficulty and it being challenging in their early lives in terms of cost of living and so on in terms of backgrounds.”

He was answering Ms McDonald on the cost of rent, saying the most comprehensive solutions “that have ever been tried” had been adopted by Government in its policy of Housing for All.

“Now we need cooperation across the board at every level,” Mr Martin said. “If politicians really believe it is a crisis, then they should behave accordingly and stop objecting in a serial manner to housing project after housing project because it doesn't fit some ideological framework.”

He told Ms McDonald: “You cannot have it both ways.”

The Sinn Féin leader had earlier held up a photograph of rental property being offered to tenants, saying it was a “converted hallway.”

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She added: “This is a converted hallway. This would knock you back €910 per month - probably a snitch in your mind.”

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Mary Lou McDonald

Mary Lou McDonald

Mary Lou McDonald

 

Ms McDonald also produced a photograph from Cork. “In this particular rental accommodation, you could touch your fridge if you stretched your feet out of your bed,” she said.

“That's the reality for Generation Rent. Don't you dare talk to me about false narratives or claim that you understand the crisis.

She accused Mr Martin of “scratching your head” over the emergency.

“I've told you two things that will go put money back into renters’ pocket. One is a tax rebate, Do that - and a freeze for three years on rent.

“Do that and Generation Rent might believe that you finally get it.”

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