No plan in place to tackle fallout of lifting of eviction ban

Cllr Conor Sheehan and Cllr Elena Secas, Labour. Photo: Cian Reinhardt

LABOUR Party councillor Conor Sheehan continues to condemn the decision by Government to lift the eviction ban.

Following the publication of the Department of Housing’s statistics on homelessness for March, Cllr Sheehan said many people in Limerick risk entering homelessness as a direct result of the decision of Government to lift the ban.

With a 23 per cent increase in homelessness year on year, the City North representative believes that the over-reliance on the private market represents a race to the bottom when it comes to housing in Ireland.

“As the March figures reveal, 11,742 people, including 3,373 children, are currently living in homelessness in this State. It’s beyond words. It is shameful,” Cllr Sheehan declared.

“The Government has lost control of the housing market. With record levels of GDP, everyone should have a home and a roof over their heads. It is a fundamental right that this Government has failed to deliver on.

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“There is no evidence underpinning the decision to lift the eviction ban, and given the sustained high levels of homelessness, I would imagine that many in Government are wondering if they have confidence in the approach taken to lift the eviction ban.”

The Labour councillor went onto express disappointment that even now, at the eleventh hour, the “cobbled together plans” to protect renters in Limerick aren’t in place.

“The Government’s panacea of a first refusal option for renters is doomed to fail. As responses to Parliamentary Questions put down by Labour leader Ivana Bacik reveal, Government has no plan in place for this measure and, even if they did, the majority of renters in Limerick are simply not in a position to purchase a home given the astronomical rents they are being charged,” he says.

“The thing that seems to be lost on this Government is the heightened sense of insecurity and uncertainty that the lifting of the eviction ban has brought.

“People can’t make decisions about themselves, for their lives and for their families. People are putting off things like starting a family because they don’t know where they will be living next week. People are genuinely fearful that, if they are evicted, there will be nowhere for them to go.

“Analysis across shows a dearth of rental supply nationwide – only one three bed property is available to rent currently in Limerick.

“My fear is that the flood gates will open for renters in Limerick over the coming weeks, with renters served so called ‘no fault’ eviction notices which will drive many into homelessness. It is a damning indictment of this conservative coalition that people who work hard their whole lives are simply given no chance due to the housing catastrophe they’re living through.”