Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said that possible ban on evictions during the energy crisis remains under review by the Government adding that “we’ll see how things evolve” over the coming weeks and months.
Speaking to journalists as he entered a two-day summit in Prague, Mr Martin suggested that the Government remained open to such a move, depending on the legal position and the situation in the rental and housing market.
“We did have a ban on evictions during Covid-19 and there was a legal framework that underpinned that because of the various restrictions,” he said, suggesting that the extraordinary conditions during the pandemic lockdowns overcame any possible legal objections to the move. However, he added that there was now an energy crisis, seemingly implying that this mean society was no longer in a normal situation.
“There are legal issues that have to be resolved in respect of any such eviction ban and I know that the Minister for Housing has had discussions on that and keeps this under ongoing review with the Attorney General,” he said.
He added that there were concerns in the Government at the number of landlords leaving the market but added, “certainly we are going through a very significant energy crisis at the moment, prices are very, very high, and that does provide a context so we’ll see how things evolve on that front.”
On the proposed concrete block levy, announced by the Government to help fund compensation by householders affected by Mica, Mr Martin said that Ministers were “taking soundings from members of our parliamentary parties as well”. Backbenchers in both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have criticised the move since its announcement in last week’s budget, so Mr Martin’s comments suggest that there could be changes to the measure in the forthcoming Finance Bill.
“The detail of that will be fleshed out in the finance bill and we’ll work through it,” he said.