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Unconscionable for Housing Minister to Travel for St Patrick’s Day Without Plan for Lifting Eviction Ban

09 March 2023

Labour leader and housing spokesperson Ivana Bacik has called on the Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien to cancel his St. Patrick’s Day plans to travel abroad, and instead to stay at home to resolve the mess created by the failure of government to extend the eviction ban.

Deputy Bacik said:

“It’s unconscionable that the Housing Minister is set to jet off to Atlanta and Savannah next week when the country is in the teeth of a housing disaster. Until a strategy is in place to deal with the tsunami of evictions expected once the eviction ban is lifted, Minister O’Brien must stay and develop a plan to work for vulnerable renters.

“In particular, we need a focus on the tenant in situ scheme which allows for local authorities to step in and buy the homes of renters who are in receipt of state housing supports, and whose landlord wishes to sell up.

“I have heard from renters and landlords alike, who are prime candidates for this scheme, and who are eager to apply. Yet, figures supplied to Labour Councillor Jane Horgan Jones show that Dublin City Council has acquired just seven homes under the scheme in 2023. The Government won’t build homes, and it appears to be incapable of acquiring ones which already exist. It is incredible. How can the Minister leave the State at a time like this?

“Indeed, we are particularly interested to receive details on the proposals to provide tenants with a first refusal mechanism in the case of their landlord selling up. While the unfortunate reality is many people are locked into renting due to the affordability crisis in the housing market, it would be a welcome first step.

“The primary cause of homelessness is the carrying out of evictions from the private rental sector, yet Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are dragging their heels and failing to act comprehensively. An eviction ban is not a silver bullet but the existing ban could have provided government with breathing space to build more social and affordable homes. Until targets are met and the many renters fearful of their future housing situation are reassured, Minister O’Brien must not travel for St. Patrick’s Day.”