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Tuesday, 21st March 2023

Byrne’s emergency motion on eviction ban is passed unopposed

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Councillor Joanna Byrne.

An emergency motion from Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne calling on the Government to extend the ban on evictions was passed unopposed at yesterday’s meeting of Louth County Council.

The motion received cross-party support with no opposition put forward from Councillors from Government parties within the chamber. 

“We remain in the midst of a housing emergency with a consistent level of unprecedented homelessness reports” Cllr Byrne told the meeting.

“The decision of this Government to lift the ban on 31st March has created huge uncertainty and insecurity amongst the 750,000 people who live in the private rented sector.

“Those who are facing eviction are distraught and understandably terrified and the big question is, where are they meant to go? The Government has no answers for these individuals and families, which means we as both a local authority and elected representatives of this County have no answers to tell the droves of people coming to us seeking advice and/or help.”

Councillor Byrne reminded the meeting that both the Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien and the Taoiseach himself Leo Varadkar have admitted homelessness will inevitably increase once the current eviction ban ends. 

Cllr Byrne continued: “According to the Residential Tenancies Board 7,539 evictions notices were issued from January to September 2022. The complete year figure for the whole of 2022 is due to be released. Out of that 7,539 there are 2,237 families are due for eviction on 31st March. That’s without any additions from the numbers from the final quarter of 2022. 

“In Drogheda today, as of this morning, there are only three properties available to rent and those three are at extortionate inflated prices might I add.

“Emergency Homeless Accommodation is at breaking point and there is no contingency plan in place to deal with the increase in the tsunami of homeless presentations this country will see when the current ban on evictions ends.

“As well as the devastation this is bringing to the people facing homelessness, it will also put a huge strain on local authorities and high representation levels will without doubt drain the resources of housing departments in every area.” 

Cllr Byrne said, the Government must: 

  1. Extend the emergency ban on evictions until the end of the year
  2. Expand the tenant in situ scheme for both social and affordable cost rental tenants
  3. Use emergency planning and procurement powers to target vacant and derelict buildings and new building technologies to increase the supply of social and affordable homes above the existing 2023 targets.

“We need an emergency response to the Housing crisis immediately and the Government need to extend this ban, and act with the utmost urgency to put these proposals in place.”

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