Fianna Fáil’s Deirdre Conroy defends ‘no cooking’ rules for lodger

Young woman renting room advised against cooking as councillor’s office was beside kitchen

Fianna Fáil councillor Deirdre Conroy has said she believes it was not “rude” to charge a lodger €35 a night to rent a room in her home for five and a half weeks earlier this summer.

The lodger, a French student on a summer internship in Dublin who was “advised” not to cook in the kitchen, was told by Ms Conroy the rent of about €260 a week was “very low”.

The young woman had rented a room in a house in Clonskeagh, south Dublin, from Ms Conroy, who was also living there.

Ms Conroy, who sits on Dublin City Council, previously stood unsuccessfully for Fianna Fáil in the Dublin Bay South Dáil byelection in 2021.


Emails from Ms Conroy to the lodger, seen by The Irish Times, show the councillor advised her against cooking in the kitchen during her stay.

“My office is downstairs and beside the kitchen, so we don’t advise cooking,” Ms Conroy wrote. “The last student was happy to order dinner delivered and have it upstairs.”

Speaking on RTÉ's Liveline, Ms Conroy said she had done “everything” to help the young woman during her stay in her home in Dublin.

“I’m not being rude by charging €35 a night ... €35 a night in what is like a very large hotel room is the cheapest thing in the whole of the country,” she said.

Ms Conroy said the woman “didn’t ask to use” the cooker or microwave in the kitchen and had been “out a lot every night”.

She added there was an issue with the microwave in the house. “The door of the microwave, you have to hold it when you want to make something in it,” she said.

The lodger paid €1,411 to rent the room for five and a half weeks from the start of June. The politician had told the young woman that this rent of about €260 a week was “very low”, emails show.

Ms Conroy had said she planned to increase the rent to €1,600 a month for the next person renting the room. “As mentioned, it is low rent for you. It will be going on to €400 per week after that,” her email stated.

However, on Monday, Ms Conroy said she was not currently renting the room and did not plan to rent it out at present. “That might be something that we go on in another year, if I decide to set up, almost like an apartment,” she said.

The councillor said the lodger had not raised issues about using the kitchen when she was staying in the home. “She was happy on the last day when we were saying goodbye and every day, it was all fine,” she said.

The lodger, who spoke to The Irish Times but did not wish to be named publicly, said she was provided with sponges to wash plates or cutlery in the sink of their en suite bathroom, rather than in the kitchen.

In response to this claim, Ms Conroy said she did not ask the young woman to wash her plates in the bathroom, saying she could clean them downstairs if she wanted.

“If you’re walking up and down the stairs, you could drop something, you could hurt yourself. I was just making it helpful for her to give her what she wanted upstairs,” she said.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Tánaiste Micheál Martin said he was “surprised” to learn that the woman renting from Ms Conroy was told she should not cook in the kitchen.

“People should be allowed to use kitchens when facilities are rented out,” he said. “I’m not over the detail of it, but in ordinary situations, access to kitchen facilities is, one would have thought, a prerequisite for renting out facilities.”

In a previous statement, Ms Conroy said she had rented a master bedroom in her house “on a few occasions because of the need to make ends meet and also to facilitate visiting lecturers”.

“All of the people who stayed with me were very happy with the large room I provided,” she said.

The councillor said she believed the rent charged for the stay was reasonable. “The fee is only €35 per day, which includes master bedroom, en suite, separate livingroom in the loft ... electricity, heating, broadband, all hot water,” she said.

Ms Conroy added she had provided a fridge, kettle, toaster and Nespresso coffee machine and the room was the largest in the house.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times