People Before Profit are seeking the reinstatement of an emergency eviction ban “for the duration of the current housing emergency”, with the party set to put a motion to the Dáil on Wednesday to accelerate this Bill.
Speaking in Buswells Hotel in Dublin on Monday, Richard Boyd Barrett said the motion would ask the Dáil to waive pre-legislative scrutiny of his party’s Eviction Ban Bill 2022. The Bill seeks to introduce a year-long eviction ban, with scope for it to be extended on review.
“To stop an already bad situation getting worse, the absolute minimum the Government can do is reinstate the eviction ban,” Mr Boyd Barrett said. “The bill is significantly based on the Government’s own original emergency ban so there’s no need for any great scrutiny.
“We’re appealing to the Government to acknowledge that the situation has gotten worse and that they need to reinstate that ban, particularly as we head into the winter months where the prospect of homelessness is even more terrifying for people and we hope, obviously, all the opposition will support us as well in that.”
He said that an eviction ban was not a long-term solution to the housing crisis. “The problem can only ultimately be solved by, on a massive scale – far in excess of what the Government are doing now – building social and affordable housing, controlling rents so that they are made affordable,” he said.”
Fr Peter McVerry said at the motion launch he was in favour of a reinstated eviction ban but said there should be some exceptions for landlords in difficulty.
“I would also require an amendment that where a landlord finds themselves in serious difficulty because of a no-fault eviction ban, that there would be a fast-track process whereby they can get an exemption from the eviction ban.”
Fr McVerry said that, at present, between 200 and 250 people were falling into homelessness every month.
“If this continues – and it’s probably likely to get worse – the number of homeless people by the time of the next election could easily be 16,000. That should worry the Government, but it won’t.
“To solve the housing homeless crisis, we need a Minister for Housing who’s angry – angry enough to bang heads together and get things done.”
James O’Toole, a tenant facing eviction from the Tathony House apartment building in Dublin 8, said the People Before Profit Bill could “save people from the nightmare” of having to leave their home.
Helen Moynihan, a representative of Community Action Tenants Union, was also present at the launch on Monday and said the union would support a no-fault eviction ban.
“Evictions in general are immoral and they’re indicative of a power imbalance in the country,” she said.
“Our focus when we’re thinking about evictions is the person who might end up on the street.”
Elsewhere, Wayne Stanley, executive director of the Simon Communities of Ireland, said while he would support an eviction ban, the Government has indicated they are not willing to reinstate a moratorium.
“It’s been very clear from our communications with the department and with the minister and, indeed, across Government that that is just something they’re not willing to look at,” he said, speaking to The Irish Times at the launch of Simon Week in the Spencer Hotel, in central Dublin, on Monday.
“The focus then has to be, ‘Where are we going to see change?’
“I think we have to acknowledge, while we would welcome an eviction ban – we absolutely would – it’s not a long-term solution.
“What we need to see now is the sort of long-term solutions and the provisions of homes that’s going to drive down the homelessness crisis.”