End of eviction ban a matter of life and death
End of eviction ban a matter of life and death


Opposition has grown to a move by the Dublin government to allow renters to once again be evicted onto the streets amid the continuing housing crisis.

Sinn Féin has confirmed it will force a vote on the matter in the Dublin parliament next week following criticism of the decision by some of the government’s own backbenchers.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald described the plan, which the government has admitted will result in some people becoming homeless, as “unconscionable”.

A debate on the motion takes place on Tuesday, March 21st, with a vote the following day.

Ms McDonald said lifting the ban on evictions was “the wrong decision at a time when people are under incredible pressure”. She accused the coalition parties of having no plan to support people who have received notices to quit.

Landlordism is a popular activity among supporters of both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, and both also have close relationships with international real estate investors and vulture funds who have lobbied them for increased rental income.

Sinn Féin pursued the issue during proceedings in the Dublin parliament last week. During heated exchanges in the Dáil Tánaiste Micheál Martin said, without explanation, that if the ban had been extended it would have had to be continued for two years.

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar admitted last week that a shortfall of 250,000 homes had built up under successive right-wing governments, but Martin insisted “the corner was turned last year”.

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty told the Dáil how a homeless family was advised to present at a Garda station for a “safe place to stay” after they were told there was no emergency accommodation available for them.

“This is before the eviction ban is even lifted,” Mr Doherty added.

“We are living in the middle of a housing emergency caused by Government actions and inactions. Your latest policy is to extend the eviction ban that was helping to keep the roofs over the heads of so many workers and families.

“Many families, through no fault of their own, face eviction now because of you. You have taken a cold and cruel decision to make people homeless.”

He added: “This is a wealthy country but government decisions have taken the basic right of having a roof over your head away from an entire generation of people. More people will be evicted because of the decisions that you took and your cabinet took this week.”

The Donegal TD said “week after week” Fianna Fáil “trot out slogans” that it was the party of home ownership which is “complete and utter nonsense”.

Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín warned that ending the eviction ban will lead to more homelessness and more homeless deaths.

“Nearly 400 people have died in homelessness in 5 years just in Dublin, the figure is far higher nationally, but your government doesn’t feel the need to measure the number of people dying around the country in homelessness,” he said.

Public meetings have been held calling for emergency action as it emerged that people are dying due to lack of accommodation.

Charity worker Caitriona Twomey of Penny Dinners has said that “people have died by suicide because the wait was too long for them, the pain was too much. The lifting of the eviction ban is going to cause mayhem in the country. How long can the government keep turning a blind eye?”

Vacant and derelict property campaigner Frank O’Connor said Ireland is full of empty homes while people are dying on the streets. Recent census figures have shown that there are 166,000 vacant properties in Ireland.

“This is an emergency. We’re experiencing societal crimes against our people,” Mr O’Connor said. “This is State-enabled vandalism, and we have a responsibility to do something about it.”

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