Michael Brennan: Is the government’s new housing scheme a smart policy, or just plain ‘bonkers’?

Tánaiste did not vigorously defend €450 million Croí Conaithe scheme when pushed by Sinn Féin

Leo Varadkar had a cut at Sinn Féin’s record on housing in the North but did not push back against specific criticism of the Croí Conaithe scheme. Picture: Carl Court/Getty Images

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar was unusually quiet when he was confronted with allegations that the government's latest housing scheme is “bonkers”.

The scheme in question is Croí Conaithe, which translates as the living heart, a €450 million fund to get construction firms to build apartments on some of the 70,000 inactive planning permissions in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.

The government is promising that it will subsidise the building of around 5,000 apartments by up ...