Senior representatives from the Department of Housing have rejected accusations of "spinning" following a Rebuilding Ireland retweet.

Representatives of the department are before the Public Accounts Committee.

Fianna Fáil TD Shane Cassells asked the Secretary General of the Department, John McCarthy, why tweets by Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy and the Taoiseach were retweeted by the Rebuilding Ireland account, which is managed by the department. 

Mr Cassels said both tweets had graphics "boasting about housing numbers in Dublin". 

Mr McCarthy said there were guidelines around social media content from the Department and that he would investigate the tweet.

He added that Minister Murphy did not make directions on the Twitter account, and it was operated entirely by the department. 

In his opening statement to the committee, Mr McCarthy said roughly one in four new homes built last year was a social housing home. 

He said while significant progress was made delivering on Rebuilding Ireland, he acknowledged they were not able to meet the rising demand from those presenting as homeless. 

"While the numbers of homeless households supported into more sustainable housing continued to increase significantly last year, regrettably, this did not match the numbers of new households presenting to homeless services". 

Mr McCarthy told the committee that 4,251 new social housing units were built last year, of which 2,022 were built by local authorities and 1,388 were by built by Approved Housing Bodies.

The remainder were built by developers under their Part 5 obligation to provide social housing in new developments. Mr McCarthy said these figures represented 96% of target. 

Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy warned the figures "give the impression we are getting ahead of the crisis that is there.

"I don't think it's a fair reflection on the extent of the crisis and how it is being tackled," she said.  

The latest figures released yesterday from the department showed the number of people homeless and living in emergency accommodation across the State reached a record high at just below 10,000.

Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane said the targets in Rebuilding Ireland lacked ambition and needed to be "substantially increased" given the rising numbers presenting as homeless. 

The committee was also told that €6.2m was spent on Traveller accommodation last year - just over half of the €12m capital budget allocated.