Sarah McInerney grills Eoin O'Broin during heated Prime Time debate
"I'll tell you what, how about you don't choose the questions, I choose the questions and you maybe answer?"
The conversation turned lively on RTÉ's Prime Time when Sarah McInerney discussed this week's announcement of the National Development Plan with Sinn Féin's Eoin O'Broin on Tuesday night.
O'Broin, Sinn Féin's spokeperson on Housing, was being interviewed alongside Minister of State Damien English on the delay to housing projects due to a lack of water services.
During the interview, McInerney questioned O'Broin on what his party would suggest as an alternative to what was in the plan, given that it was subject to criticism from the party.
"In relation to the capital plan, what we heard yesterday was 300,000 houses to be built by 2030, Sinn Fein says 'that's not enough, we need more than that' and yet we're not getting these small things right - it doesn't seem realistic, does it, that we build 300,000 homes, nevermind more than that," McInerney asked.
"Well, of course, I wish the Government was going to deliver 300,000 houses over the next decade but that's a separate issue, there are two separate things going on," O'Broin replied.
He added that water issues "slow down the occupation of properties", saying that it is a "third party issue" with buyers not being told the full facts".
He said there should be a "much greater sense of urgency" the moment a glitch arises in terms of building new homes.
"Who is the third party? We have houses lying idle with children going homeless," McInerney retorted.
O'Broin said that the issues lie with both Irish Water and developers who "need to go in and fix the issue", saying that "their failure collectively led to the delay".
He said that the delay to the occupation of homes is part of a much larger issue of groups of developments not yet being connected to water, saying the Government should allocate more money to fixing this problem.
"There was 165 billion euro that was announced yesterday Eoin, a lot of criticism from Sinn Féin over the last 24 hours, but not a lot of details as to what Sinn Féin would do differently - like for example, would you build the the Metro and if so by when? Would you build the (Cork to Limerick) motorway and if so, by when?", McInerney questioned O'Broin.
"Well, let me, for example, answer the questions directly in relation to housing," he replied.
"Well maybe you can answer them other questions," McInerney hit back.
O'Broin added that Damien English had "made a series of claims there that I would like to dispute".
McInerney responded: "Okay, but that's not what I asked you though because I've heard a lot of criticism from Sinn Féin, specifically about the National Development Plan, a lot about the Metro and the dates and the lack of detail.
"Do you have a date on when you would build the Metro? How much would you spend on it?"
"Okay, so, the first thing is, specifically on housing because Damien got to answer that question, specifically on housing," O'Broin replied once again.
McInerney clarified: "But, that's not the question I'm asking you this evening - would you be able to give me that answer?
"I know that, I will - but, I'll answer both," O'Broin added.
"We don't have a whole lot of time so I'd like you to answer the question I asked you please," McInerney hit back.
"If you let me answer the question initially we would have got to both of your questions," O'Broin said.
"I'll tell you what, how about you don't choose the questions, I choose the questions and you maybe answer," McInerney responded.
"I have an entitlement to respond to the things Damien said about housing as well," the TD continued.
McInerney interjected: "I'm going to move on, so you don't want to answer the question I've asked."
O'Broin then said that his party would "double direct capital investment in social affordable housing from next year - something the Government is not going to do".
He added that Sinn Féin would also "dramatically increase capital investment in precisely those public infrastructures and deliver them on the original dates".
McInerney responded: "I'm going to move on, I've noted you haven't answered the question."
"I have answered the question, Sarah," O'Broin replied.
You can catch the episode of Prime Time in full on the RTÉ Player here.