Green TDs to discuss plan for imminent Sinn Féin eviction ban motion

Leo Varadkar this week defended Government’s decision to let moratorium lapse at the end of March

Green TD Patrick Costello says he wants to see an extension to the eviction ban. Photograph: Alan Betson

Green Party TDs are expected to meet on Monday to discuss how to approach a Sinn Féin motion calling for an extension of the eviction ban until next January.

Two sources said that a meeting will be held to discuss the party’s voting intentions for the motion, which will be moved in the Dáil on Tuesday.

Sinn Féin is currently targeting Government backbenchers and Independent TDs in an effort to convince them to vote in favour of the motion.

The Sinn Féin motion also calls for an overhaul of existing social housing schemes and the use of emergency planning powers to build and refurbish more homes.


Green TD Patrick Costello said on Thursday that he wanted to see an extension to the eviction ban. The Government has already decided that it will lapse from the end of this month.

“Like many members of my party I would like to see an extension of the ban at the very least to ensure some of the new protections for renters are put in place before the ban is lifted. The Greens were able to argue for measures such as involving approved housing bodies, the tenant-in-situ purchase scheme, and I think it is important that these are really strong protections for tenants. We should at the very least see an extension until those protections are in place,” Mr Costello told RTÉ's Drivetime programme on Thursday evening.

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Asked if he will vote with the Opposition, he said he wanted to discuss it with the parliamentary party first.

It comes as rebel Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan said “concrete proposals” are needed from the Government to ensure support from backbenchers.

Ms Hourigan said the Opposition motion was “correct” in that “it was the wrong decision to end the eviction ban with so little to no contingency plans in palace to deal with the increase in homeless presentations”.

“If the Government wants to ensure the support of its backbenchers, it needs to enact concrete proposals prior to ending any eviction ban.”

Ms Hourigan did not specifically address her own voting intentions.

The Coalition is coming under pressure to explain its plan to protect renters and stop landlords leaving the market, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar defending the Government while abroad this week.

Speaking to reporters in Washington DC, as part of the annual St Patrick’s Day visit, Mr Varadkar said he believed the Government would win the forthcoming Sinn Féin motion.

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Separately, on the same visit on Thursday, Mr Varadkar was asked about the the UK government’s decision to ban TikTok from work phones used by ministers and officials because of security concerns surrounding the Chinese-owned app.

The Taoiseach said the Government had asked the National Cyber Security Centre for advice on TikTok.

“As things stand we are not advising anybody in the public service or in government to remove TikTok from their work phones but that is still under review.”

Mr Varadkar was also asked about UK immigration policy changes. Mr Varadkar said there has been an increase in the number of people seeking international protection coming across the Border from North to South rather than through ports or airports.

“That, of course, does go in both directions and because a lot of it is clandestine, it is very difficult to get accurate statistics on how people got into the country and where they were before that.

“It is really important that the Irish and British governments work together on irregular migration, in particular. We have a Common Travel Area and we need to protect that. It is very valuable to us. And that is why we will work together on these issues, and it will certainly feature in my conversations with the British government and is happening at ministerial level too.”

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times