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Bacik calls for release of all correspondence relating to decision to lift the eviction ban

11 April 2023

  • Renters facing eviction must have full facts – including AG advice
  • No response from Housing Minister on how to triage queries from those in housing distress

Labour leader and housing spokesperson Ivana Bacik said people facing eviction from their homes must have full clarity on the evidence used by Government to make that decision.

Calling for the publication of the AG’s advice, and all correspondences with government related to the lifting of the temporary ban on no-fault evictions from charities, lobby groups and NGOs, Deputy Bacik said that the depths of the distress experienced by renters is appalling, and represents a failure of politics to work in the interest of the public good.

Deputy Bacik said:

“The political decision to lift the eviction ban was apparently made by the government without any evidence basis. There are now questions as to whether political pressure was applied to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) to delay the release of Q4 figures from 2022 on notices to quit received by renters. Had this information been publicly released last week, as had been expected, there is no doubt that it would have changed the tone of Oireachtas debates on the eviction ban.

“We are used to seeing Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil hiding behind the advice of the Attorney General when making tough decisions. I am calling for the publication of the advice given to Government in relation to the lifting of the ban.

“As well as the uncertainty around why this decision was taken, there is also massive uncertainty for renters who have received an eviction notice as to where they can go next.

It seems that Government has utterly failed to put in place contingency plans for people who have received notices to quit. Why was a ‘one stop shop’ to triage queries not put in place during the duration of the eviction ban, for example? Labour wrote to Minister O’Brien on Friday in advance of the lifting of the ban asking him how best we can help people at risk of eviction. He has yet to reply. This is nothing short of outrageous for the thousands of renters who are sick with worry and have no place to go.

“Particularly in the context of successive failures by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in housing, this is a hammer blow. When an election comes, renters will be very clear with Government about what they make of this decision. Instead of spending the duration of the eviction ban holding press conferences, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil should javee been working with NGOs, opposition and advocacy groups to prepare for this. Instead, they have unleashed a social catastrophe.”