Decision by Government to End Eviction Ban is a Disgrace


Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has roundly condemned what he has described as the disgraceful decision by the government to end the eviction ban from the end of this month. A decision which the coalition concedes will lead to an increase in homelessness across the state. When the eviction ban was introduced last year, 2,700 notices to quit were paused. There is a very real fear that the decision by the government to lift the ban will lead to an avalanche of evictions.

Brady said:

“If ever there was any doubt before that this government is a cohort of landlords governing in their own self-interest, the cruel and inhumane decision by the government to remove the ban on eviction has removed all doubt.

This government has abandoned renters. If you are a renter in Wicklow, you are already paying some of the most expensive rents in the state outside of Dublin.

A report from published last month revealed a year on year 13.3% increase in rents in Wicklow, where the average monthly rental cost is now at €1,847.

The Minister has cited legal advice as part of the government’s rationale for adding to a homeless crisis of their making. I am calling on him to publish this advice, and I am calling on all of the other Wicklow TDs to support me in this call.

The removal of the eviction ban leaves the state open to a tsunami of evictions over the summer months. There are families and individuals who have been reduced to a state of terror, and trepidation by this heartless decision.

There are currently 11,754 people classified as homeless across the state. 3,431 of whom are children.

But as harrowing as these statistics are, they hide the real human pain that lies behind the figures.

Day after day, I witness families and individuals, grown men and women at the end of their tether, in tears in my office as we struggle against a system that is stacked against them to try to help them.

There are three government TDs in Wicklow. I would like to see those very same members of the government here in Wicklow, to step out from behind the barrage of excuses offered by the government, and to take the time sit across a table from a grown adult in tears, in the throes of hopelessness, with nowhere left to turn, facing a future of homelessness, and see how far their empty arguments take them.

Recently, I met with a young mother, who has been forced through circumstances to live out of her car, while still trying to provide the best she can for her child. There is simply no accommodation out there, even for those who have done everything humanly possible to source shelter.

All the state could offer this single parent family was to provide them with what is termed a self-accommodating letter. Which places an onus on this woman to travel the length and breadth of Wicklow, Dublin, and Wexford with a child in tow, to hotels and guesthouses in search of accommodation, with a letter saying that the state will cover a cost of €70 a night for two weeks.

This government has created a situation where families will be forced to present themselves at Garda Stations in search of short-term shelter.

The housing crisis is the single biggest social issue in the state at this moment in time. It is condemning thousands and thousands of families to a life of penury as they attempt to meet the eye-watering rental costs. Others are enduring the catastrophe of homelessness. A generation of young people are taking the decision to leave the country. To emigrate in search of some kind of future for themselves which will offer them a quality of life.

And yet this government refuses to acknowledge that there is a crisis.

The government needs to immediately reinstate the eviction ban until the end of this year, to provide breathing space to bring in emergency measures to address the crisis, by accelerating and increasing the supply of social and affordable homes.

Local authorities must be provided with the capacity to purchase private rental properties with HAP and RAS tenants in situ with eviction notices.

The government also needs to extend the scheme to Approved Housing Bodies to allow tenants not currently eligible for social rent but who are within the income limits for cost rental to remain in their homes.

Existing emergency planning and procurement powers must be utilised by the government, as they did during Covid-19, to increase and accelerate the supply of social and affordable housing beyond the existing targets for this year.

The dramatic and catastrophic rise in homelessness under Darragh O’Brien is a direct consequence of the government’s failure to deliver an adequate supply of social and affordable homes.

We need to see action and we need to see it now.”

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