The Irish Times view on the ending of the eviction ban: measures to help must be delivered

The most important thing about the ending of the ban is not the politics of it- it is the effect on the lives of ordinary people.

The ending of the ban on no-fault eviction, which has become such a sharp point of political contention since its announcement, has come into effect. The Government stuck doggedly to its plans this week, despite days of angry opposition in the Dáil, on the airwaves and on the streets. Ministers insist that not to end the ban would have had worse long-term effects than continuing it and have hurriedly put in place a series of measures – such as super-charging the tenant purchase scheme – which should go some way to mitigating the effects on many people.

But it is hard to escape the conclusion that neither the politics nor the practicalities of ending the ban were fully thought through in Government. And yet, for all the sturm und drang in the Dáil chamber this week, and the fevered evaluation of the political consequences for the Coalition, the most important thing about the ending of the ban is not the politics of it; it is the effect on the lives of ordinary people. The immense difficulty of finding alternative accommodation will leave many people – not just vulnerable people but also those in more comfortable positions – living in fear of being told by their landlord that their tenancy will end. For those who are issued notices to quit, the stress must be immense.

In many cases, they will choose to overhold, staying on in their accommodation past the date on which their tenancy expires. This is not a long-term solution, and a campaign of widespread overholding would only persuade more landlords to sell their properties, thus exacerbating the crisis in the private rented sector. Nevertheless, it is understandable on an individual basis, particularly in the case of families for whom emergency accommodation might not be either available or suitable.

This is not a satisfactory way to arrange our housing sector, and changes are needed. Everyone agrees that a drastic increase in supply is central to this, but that is not going to be delivered in a few months. The Government has pledged that local authorities will be given the resources necessary to purchase the homes where tenants are being asked to leave because the landlord wants to sell. On face value, this is a neat solution; but to anyone with familiarity of how incredibly slow and frustrating dealing with officialdom can be, the dangers of bureaucratic atrophy are obvious.


There is an open question about how much some local authorities really want to increase their stock of housing at all, not to mind doing so in a haphazard way. But every effort must be made to help those in distress. Central Government must ensure that local government works the scheme, and does so quickly and at scale.

The Government claims that it has turned the corner on the housing crisis. But there is a way to go before this claim has any hope of holding water.