The decision not to extend the moratorium on evictions sparks “immense” concern in Ireland, according to Catholic bishops, who have expressed “deep concern” about the potential impact on the number of people left homeless.
Earlier this week, the government announced that its ban on evictions would end on March 31 as planned, prompting significant political and public debate due to record levels of homelessness in the state.
In a statement released on Thursday following the Spring 2023 meeting of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, they said the decision to lift the ban comes “at a time of crisis in the housing supply in Ireland, combined with additional pressures created by demand and the demand for housing lack of supply”.
“Forcing people from their homes resonates deeply with our national psyche and social history. The eviction will result in a sharp rise in already exaggerated homelessness,” the statement said.
“The Church – through our parishes, communities and pastoral agencies – is witnessing daily the impact of the housing shortage on individuals and families. The concern this decision is causing across Ireland is immense. It is the responsibility of the state to increase the supply of housing, to protect people, to ensure fair prices and rent security.”
The bishops said housing has become the area where some of the “deepest inequalities in our society are evident.” They called for a referendum to amend the constitution to include an “explicit right to housing.”
reaction of the refugees
The statement recognized the “overwhelmingly positive” people’s response to the newcomers seeking refuge or asylum.
“The generosity of the Irish people and state in responding to the unprecedented situation must be recognised. It is visible in every parish, town, ward and city in the country,” he said.
However, according to the bishops, as the number of refugees increases, so does the demand for adequate housing.
“For too long there has been a lack of urgency to provide housing for all in Ireland. Integrating refugees and asylum-seekers into our communities requires a purposeful plan on the part of government and public bodies, and an openness to work constructively with local people to maximize opportunities for real encounters,” they said.
“You have to listen to the real concerns of the local people and allay their fears.”
Regarding recent reports of racism and xenophobia, the bishops said racism seeks “to divide and exploit fears by spreading fear, often through misinformation.
“There is no place for racism in Ireland. As a people with a long history of emigration, particularly in the face of famine, we know deep down what it is like to have to leave one’s homeland in search of protection and a better life,” the statement said.
“May our communities be welcoming places where all can thrive.”
https://www.irishtimes.com/ireland/2023/03/09/catholic-bishops-raise-deep-concern-over-eviction-ban-end/ Catholic bishops express ‘deep concern’ at end of ban on evictions – The Irish Times