Minister of State for Housing Damien English has said he did not believe it was time for a new housing plan.

He was speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland the day after Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy survived a vote of no confidence in the Dáil.

Mr English said that the big increase in people in emergency accommodation happened from 2013 to 2015 and that while there are still increases, they are much lower now.

He said no one was denying that the numbers were too high, but insisted that the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland plan was having a positive effect.

The Fine Gael TD said that if anyone took time out to read Opposition proposals on housing, they would see they are not more ambitious than the Government's, which aims to bring the delivery of 12,000 social houses every year.

He said that the only way to do this is to long-term investment in housing.

Figures released yesterday show that there are currently 10,514 people in emergency accommodation, of which 3,800 are children.

Mr English said the appropriate time for an election was May 2020.

However, speaking on the same programme, Darragh O’Brien, Fianna Fáil's housing spokesperson, disagreed with Mr English’s claim the Opposition had not put forward alternative housing proposals.

Rebuilding Ireland was not working, he said, and Fianna Fáil has published an alternative.

Mr O'Brien said that if the public elected Fianna Fáil in an election early next year, then his party would implement different policies.

An election was averted last night after the Government survived a motion of no-confidence in Minister Murphy by three votes, averting a possible Christmas election, with the final numbers standing at 56 votes to 53.

Mr O'Brien said that May next year was still the best time to hold an election. His party, he said, abstained from last night's vote in "the national interest" and had Mr Murphy lost the vote, the country would have been plunged into a pre-Christmas election.

Also speaking on Morning Ireland, Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said the motion of no confidence in Mr Murphy was never about a snap general election, but part of efforts to force a change in the Government's housing policy.

Mr Ó Broin described the motion defeat as a "real lost opportunity" to start to turn the corner on a crisis that was affecting thousands of people and children.

He said that while changing the minister was not enough, passing the motion would have sent a strong message to the Government that its Rebuilding Ireland plan was not working.

Fianna Fáil, he said, should hang their heads in shame. He said the survival of the Government would be decided by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

Mr Ó Broin said Sinn Féin was ready for a general election.

Jan O'Sullivan, Labour housing spokesperson, said Rebuilding Ireland was fundamentally using the private sector to provide housing and this needs to change.

Ms O’Sullivan said the Government did not appear to have learnt any lessons.

She added that Opposition parties had made a point last night and she did not think the Government would survive too much longer.

The responses last night from Government, she said, showed that it was set in defending Rebuilding Ireland.

The bill of no confidence was put forward by the Social Democrats.

Speaking in the Dáil last night, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar described the motion as a stunt to gain publicity and coverage.