Dáil vote on eviction ban set to heap pressure on Government TDs

Sinn Féin plans to force vote which would bring renewed focus on any divisions within the Coalition on decision to end ban

Eviction ban DOB

The Government is facing mounting pressure over its decision to end the ban on evictions as Sinn Féin signalled plans to force a Dáil vote on the matter after the St Patrick’s Day recess.

A vote would bring renewed focus on any lingering divisions within the Government as some Coalition TDs continued to express concerns over the plan to phase out the moratorium on evictions from the end of the month.

Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan continued her criticism, arguing that proposed measures being developed in a bid to ease the impact on tenants could actually intensify evictions.

One proposal – put forward by her own party – is to change the law to require a landlord selling a property to offer the existing tenant “first refusal” to buy after an independent valuation. Ms Hourigan said the measure could see landlords rushing to sell in the months before the new rules come into force. She likened it to compulsory purchase orders and said she believes it will “absolutely accelerate evictions”.


The Green Party disputed Ms Hourigan’s characterisation of the proposal and said the measure could in fact “incentivise landlords to keep their tenants for longer” by guaranteeing a fair price through the independent valuation.

There was also dissent from Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness who told the Dáil the eviction ban “should never have been lifted without certain modifications to it and it being put back in place again”.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Ivana Bacik last night called on Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien to cancel his plans to travel to the United States for St Patrick’s Day duties. She said a “tsunami of evictions” is expected and he should stay in Ireland “and develop a plan to work for vulnerable renters”.

In the Dáil, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald argued that the Government has “thrown in the towel on renters”. She said her party will be pushing for a Dáil vote on the Government decision not to extend the eviction ban “at the earliest possible opportunity”.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar responded, accusing Ms McDonald of trying to create “a divisive, false narrative” that it was “renters versus landlords”.

The Irish Times understands that the earliest Sinn Féin could raise the issue is their Private Members’ time on Tuesday, March 21st.

Ms Hourigan previously lost the Green Party whip for six months along with colleague Patrick Costello after they voted in favour of a Sinn Féin motion on the National Maternity Hospital (NMH). She said last night she would only oppose the Government in a Dáil vote on the eviction ban if opposition proposals are “meaningful”.

Ms Hourigan said: “I am well capable of voting against the Government” but also conceded that an opposition motion is unlikely to change the plan to end the ban.

Mr Costello suggested on Tuesday that the eviction ban should be continued and tested in court if necessary. He did not respond to a request for comment on how he would vote if Sinn Féin secure a Dáil vote.

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times