ESB bribery allegations will not affect housing supply - O'Brien

Esb Bribery Allegations Will Not Affect Housing Supply - O'brien
Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said the “very serous allegations, will be assessed”. Photo: PA Images
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David Raleigh

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien has said he does not believe ESB bribery allegations involving construction companies will negatively impact the supply of housing.

The High Court has heard allegations that a state-backed construction company and a linked development firm made corrupt payments to ESB staff, in order to secure power grid connections.


Mr O'Brien said he is taking the allegations “very seriously” but said as he is “not familiar with the detail within them, I don't think it would be appropriate for me to comment any further”.

However, when pressed on the matter, Mr O’Brien said: “To answer your question, do I believe it will inhibit the delivery of additional homes? I don't.”

“There are many hundreds and thousands of workers in the ESB who work incredibly hard.”

Mr O’Brien said the “very serous allegations, will be assessed”.


“It will obviously be a matter for the ESB and I have no doubt that there will be discussions with Minister Eamon Ryan in that regard also.”

“We haven't discussed it at Cabinet yet, that’s been very straight with you,” added Minster O’Brien.

“All I would say is that our utility companies are really important to ensure that we are delivering new infrastructure and new homes. We have seen vast improvements in Uisce Éireann, Irish Water’s delivery, they have a €6 billion capital plan, they have changed their processes, and we are actually seeing much quicker connections through Irish Water, right across the country.”

“The ESB as well, they are obviously crucial to make sure that we have the utilities connected, and they have been doing a good job.”


Mr O’Brien was speaking in Limerick at the announcement of an €80 million partnership between Limerick Twenty Thirty (LTT), a Limerick City and County Council development company, the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), which is part of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) to develop a six-storey office block, One Opera Square, in Limerick City.

The 10,000sq metre building, including a car and bike park, will provide space for up to 1,000 office staff as part of a 3.7 acre Opera Square site which the developers say will be capable of employing up to 3,000 people.

Asked if these additional office workers would be able to find a place to live, Mr O’Brien replied: “Well, that's our job, to make sure they do...but that is the challenge, and that is why Housing For All (Government’s housing strategy) is there.”

“We had a good first year, we exceeded our target significantly, in 2022 we set a target of 24,600, we built nearly 30,000 new homes - now we know in government we have a lot more to do on that, and we are paying catch-up.”

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Mr O’Brien also acknowledged the latest data published by on Monday, which showed rents jumped by 13.7 per cent last year, with the average market rent nationwide standing at €1,733 per month by year-end.

Dublin had the highest average rate, at €2,324 per month, followed by Galway City (€1,796), Cork City (€1,768), and the average monthly rent in Limerick City stood at €1,272.

A spokeswoman for the Minister said: “Approval has been given under the affordable housing fund for €2.6 million for 16 cost rental homes” in Limerick.

"They’ll be let to people at rates which are 25 per cent lower than local market rent (rates), located in Coolbane, Castleconnell, (15km from the city). This will be Limerick’s first cost rental scheme (already been approved two affordable purchase schemes (one in Castletroy, and one in Glin)."

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