Dáil vote on eviction ban set to increase pressure on Government TDs – The Irish Times

The government is under increasing pressure over its decision to lift the ban on evictions as Sinn Féin signaled plans to force a Dáil vote on the matter after the St Patrick’s Day recess.

A vote would draw renewed attention to any ongoing divisions within the government, as some coalition TDs continue to express concerns about the plan to end the moratorium on evictions from the end of the month.

Neasa Hourigan, TD of the Greens, continued her criticism, arguing that proposed measures being developed to mitigate the impact on tenants could actually increase evictions.

One proposal – put forward by her own party – is to change the law to require a landlord selling a property to offer the existing tenant a “preemption denial” after an independent assessment. Ms Hourigan said the measure could see landlords rush to sell in the months before the new rules take effect. She compared it to forced orders and said she believes it will “absolutely speed up evictions.”

The Green Party disputed Ms Hourigan’s characterization of the proposal, saying the measure could actually “encourage landlords to keep their tenants longer” by guaranteeing a fair price through the independent assessment.

There was also disagreement from Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness, who told the Dáil that the eviction ban “should never have been lifted without certain amendments being made to it and it being reinstated”.

Meanwhile, Labor leader Ivana Bacik last night called on Housing Secretary Darragh O’Brien to cancel his plans to travel to the United States for St Patrick’s Day duties. She said a “tsunami of evictions” was expected and that he should remain in Ireland “and develop a plan to work for vulnerable tenants”.

In the Dáil, Mary Lou McDonald, chairwoman of Sinn Féin, argued that the government had “thrown in the towel on tenants”. She said her party will push for a Dáil vote on the government’s decision not to extend the ban on evictions “at the earliest opportunity”.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar responded, accusing Ms McDonald of trying to create “a divisive, false narrative” that it was “tenant versus landlord”.

The Irish Times understands that Sinn Féin could not raise the issue until Tuesday 21 March at the time of its private members at the earliest.

Ms Hourigan previously lost the Greens’ whip alongside colleague Patrick Costello for six months after they voted in favor of a Sinn Féin motion on the National Maternity Hospital (NMH). She said last night she would only oppose the government in a Dáil vote on the eviction ban if the opposition’s proposals made “meaningful”.

Ms Hourigan said: “I am perfectly capable of voting against the government,” but also acknowledged that an opposition motion is unlikely to change the plan to lift the ban.

Mr Costello proposed on Tuesday that the eviction ban go ahead and be considered in court if necessary. He did not respond to a request for comment on how he would vote if Sinn Féin received a Dáil vote.

https://www.irishtimes.com/ireland/housing-planning/2023/03/09/dail-vote-on-eviction-ban-set-to-heap-pressure-on-government-tds/ Dáil vote on eviction ban set to increase pressure on Government TDs – The Irish Times

Dais Johnston

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