The Government has been defeated in a Dáil vote on a cross-party motion to declare housing and homelessness a national emergency.

The motion, tabled by Solidarity-People Before Profit, was debated yesterday with support from all parties outside Government.

In this afternoon's vote the motion was supported by 83 votes, with one TD abstaining and 43 voting against it.

Earlier, the Tánaiste told the house the delay in delivery of social housing is about the capacity of local authorities to deliver at the pace they are being asked to deliver.

Simon Coveney was responding during Leader's Questions to Sinn Féin's finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty.

Deputy Doherty said Budget 2019 marks a "step change", and his party is calling for a doubling of capital investment in housing.

Mr Coveney said the Government had allocated a "a huge capital package" and is committed to a dramatic increase in the provision of publicly funding social housing.

He said that from his experience as Minister for Housing, money is not the obstacle in delivering the volume of housing required, but about processes and decision making which he said have delayed the provision of social housing.

"I would contend that the delay is not about the availability of capital, it's about process and capacity in local authorities at the pace we are asking him to deliver on. You know that more than most, but it doesn't suit you", he added.

Earlier, the Minister of State at the Department of Housing said he will examine any proposals to house homeless families, including reports that Dublin City Council is re-visiting plans to house homeless families on a rented cruise ship.

However, Damien English said that would not be his preference.

Speaking on RTÉs Morning Ireland, he said: "Initial thoughts on it would be ships and boats are used in other countries for high-end housing and maybe for student populations, as opposed to families but we will look at their proposals and see".

Mr English said the Government shares the public frustration with the ongoing housing crisis.

Meanwhile, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has said that the idea of renting a cruise ship is not suitable for homeless families.

In a post on Twitter, he said that "more appropriate" solutions are being pursued by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive.

Latest figures from the Department of Housing show that there were 9,891 people accessing emergency accommodation. The figures consisted of 6,024 adults and 3,867 children.

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

However, Mr Ó Broin said that declaring a national emergency would show that the Government has not made the progress it is claiming to have made.

In addition, he said, if declaring an emergency was followed up with simple measures, such as passing the Focus Ireland amendment to help keep tenants in their homes, it would help reduce the flow of people into homelessness.

He also said that it was time for a rent freeze.

Mr Ó Broin warned that the Government will suffer at the polls if it continues to ignore protests, such as yesterday’s rally.