Dublin City councillors vote to extend eviction ban

Councillors vote by 37 to 8 in support of Sinn Féin motion, with several councillors from Government parties voting to extend the ban

Dublin city councillors have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a Sinn Féin motion to extend the ban on evictions, due to be lifted from Friday, to the end of this year.

Ahead of the issue being voted on in the Dáil on Wednesday night, councillors from all parties voted in support of a Sinn Féin motion calling on the Government to extend the ban until the end of the year; expand the tenant in situ scheme to cost rental tenants; use emergency powers to target vacant and derelict properties; and use ”new building technologies” to deliver additional social and affordable homes.

Councillors also agreed a Labour Party addendum calling on the Government to urgently engage with the EU commission to allow strengthened restrictions on the use of properties for holiday letting; faster recruitment of building apprentices; an acceleration of the approval process for new housing and refurbishment of empty houses; and the identification of more sites to be used for social, affordable and cost rental housing.

While support was not unanimous, the motion was passed by 37 to eight votes, with four abstentions from two Fine Gael and two Green councillors, while 13 of the 63 councillors did not attend the meeting or did not vote.


All of the Sinn Féin, Labour, Social Democrat and Independent councillors present voted in favour of the motion. However, more than half of the Fianna Fáil councillors, along with smaller numbers of Green Party and Fine Gael councillors also sided with Sinn Féin against the Government.

Sinn Féin’s Daithi Doolan, who proposed the motion, said Dublin city was “at the epicentre of the current housing crisis and the lifting of the ban will only make that crisis worse and will put fear and uncertainty into many people’s lives”. The extension of the ban would give the council time to work in partnership with the Government to deliver “extraordinary measures” to deliver homes. “It is never too late. It is never the wrong time to right things. We are calling on Minister O’Brien to listen to us tonight and to reinstate the ban.”

Dermot Lacey, who put forward the Labour addendum, said: “Clearly there is a housing crisis, and it is really hard to understand the complacency of the Government in relation to it.”

Fianna Fáil’s Deirdre Heney said when Labour was in government, their housing minister Alan Kelly “destroyed” the city council’s housing waiting list by insisting 50 per cent of all homes were allocated to homeless people and Labour “wants to abolish the tenant purchase scheme. They are not in favour of home ownership, they want us all renting.”

She said Sinn Féin had delayed several public housing projects including large developments at O’Devaney Gardens and Oscar Traynor Road by voting against them. “I reject the insinuation from Sinn Féin and the Labour Party that Fianna Fáil or anyone who isn’t them doesn’t care”.

Fine Gael’s James Geoghegan, who also voted against the motion, said “I don’t think this council works best when it is mud-slinging at each other”. However, he said it was “wrong to exacerbate the situation that many vulnerable tenants may find themselves in by scaremongering and fearmongering by putting out statements that are simply not correct, such as that you will be referred to a Garda station. This was a lie that Sinn Féin peddled ceaselessly until it was corrected by the director of the Dublin Regional Homelessness Executive.”

Independent councillors Pat Dunne and John Lyons said they were encouraging tenants to “overhold” by not leaving their homes when they received notice from their landlords, and they called on the other councillors to issue similar advice.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times