The Government is failing to deliver affordable homes and there must be a change in housing policy, the Sinn Féin finance spokesperson has said.

Speaking during Leaders' Questions in the Dáil, Pearse Doherty said that even planned developments are not being delivered on time and the housing plan is "a shambles".

Sinn Féin is calling for the building of 20,000 "public homes" next year.

Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien said more than 30,000 new homes were delivered last year, which was ahead of target.

He said there have also been more than 2,500 approvals for the First Home scheme.

Mr O'Brien claimed that under Sinn Féin plans some €1.7 billion less would be invested in housing.

"We've a plan that is working," he said but added that there remain significant challenges.

Mr Doherty accused the minister of trying to mislead the public.

He added it is a fact that home ownership is falling under this Government.

Also speaking in the Dáil, the leader of the Labour Party said it is "shocking" that children are still doing their homework on hotel room floors because of a failure to adequately address the housing crisis.

Ivana Bacik said that two years on from the launch of the Government's Housing for All Strategy "it is clear that it has failed in both ambition and deliver".

Her party is proposing an additional €1bn in capital investment for housing, and a further ban on no-fault evictions.

However, Mr O’Brien rejected her claims that the Government’s centre-piece policy to address the housing crisis has failed.

"I reject outright that Housing for All has failed," Mr O’Brien said.

He also dismissed the idea "that you can simply increase capital investment by a further €1bn and not look at the capacity to build houses".

Mr O'Brien said when it comes to building houses, it was a "question of catching up because of years of under-delivery, five of which were under the Labour Party."

Ms Bacik responded that she would not "take lectures" from Fianna Fáil and said the party "wrecked the economy, It wrecked the construction industry and left it in a shambles."

While Independent TD for Waterford Matt Shanahan criticised the "utopian visions" of "planners [who] look down their noses at settlement patterns" of rural Ireland.

Mr Shanahan warned that planning law revisions "will not get it right" if it does not allow for a return of "one-off housing".

He noted that many "technical reasons" are given to stop one-off housing, that they may be bad for the economy, for the environment but stated that alternative solutions are available that "allow us to keep some utility of our traditional settlement formation".

Mr O'Brien disputed that he was against one-off housing, noting that 5,500 one-off rural homes were built in 2022, an increase of 16% in comparison with the year before.

He also noted the Croí Cónaithe vacancy grant for the revitalisation of rural and town areas, the extension of the First-Home scheme, and the waiving of certain registration and connection fees.

Concern expressed over emergency accommodation conditions

Separately, Social Democrats TD Cian O'Callaghan described to the Dáil an alleged assault on a woman in a hostel for homeless people which he said was captured on video.

Addressing the minister, Mr O'Callaghan expressed concerns over the "conditions in privately run homeless emergency accommodation".

He said: "Minister, on the 2nd of August, a woman was physically assaulted by a member of staff in a privately run hostel for homeless people.

"While this hostel is run by a private company, it is funded with public money.

Mr O'Callaghan added: "The incident is recorded on video and it clearly shows the male staff member telling her that she is a piece of junk, threatening to hit and crush her. The staff member then hits (her)."

"What action are you taking?" he asked. "Why was she left sleeping on the streets for several weeks after the assault?"

Ceann Comhairle Sean Ó Fhearghaíl said that Mr O’Callaghan should take the information to the gardaí.

Mr O'Brien also advised Mr O’Callaghan to do so, saying that assault is "a very, very serious thing" and added: "I'll take that very, very seriously indeed".

It was the first the minister had heard of it, he noted.

But Mr O’Brien added that this "is not the experience that the majority of people will encounter" in homeless hostels where a lot of "committed people" work.

"That needs to be investigated," he added, and said that he will take it up "as a matter of priority" to ensure that the woman "has the support that she needs".

Additional reporting Mary Regan, Eoin Ó Catháin