Sinn Fein Cllr Danielle Twomey.

SF want eviction ban extended

A motion calling on the Government to extend the current eviction ban failed to get enough votes during a Cork County Council meeting this week.

The motion was brought to the chamber by Sinn Féin Cllr Danielle Twomey who initially asked the council write to Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien asking that the ban be extended to the end of 2023 and that its scope be extended to all private rental tenants on a notice to quit.

Cllr Twomey acknowledged the ban was never going to be a solution to Ireland’s housing crisis but said she is now “absolutely terrified” for families facing imminent eviction and homelessness.

“The ban is being removed without any real implementation of relief measures or any solutions in place,” she said.

She added: “We need our minister and our Government to come back down to earth for a second. We are in a housing emergency now, we're no longer in a crisis.”

Supporting Ms Twomey’s motion was Green Party Cllr Liam Quaide who said the manner in which the ban is being lifted will push many to almost certain homelessness.

“I think the protections that are needed to justify the measure are just not in place, “ he said.

However, the motion was not received well amongst Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil elected members, with Fianna Fáil’s Seamus McGrath accusing Sinn Féin of using the eviction ban as a “political opportunity”.

“Playing on the issue of the eviction ban is not the solution here. It's highly emotive - I get that - but it isn't the solution,” said Cllr McGrath.

“I think we all know the fundamental problem is a chronic shortage of housing. The Taoiseach in the last few days has suggested we have a shortage of 250,000 properties across the country. An eviction ban, and even an extended eviction ban, is not going to solve that problem, not by a longshot,” he added.

Fine Gael Cllr John Paul O'Shea agreed with Cllr McGrath but asked that the council still write to the Government to ask that all resources possible be given to the local authority to deal with potential increase in homelessness.

“We need to keep landlords in place to make sure we have an effective rental market going forward,” he said.

Cllr Danielle Twomey later disputed Cllr Seamus McGrath's comments calling them "quite disrespectful and out of line".

“My intention here is to represent the people that come to my office on a weekly basis and cry in my office because there's nowhere for them to go,” she said.

After rewording her initial motion so as to simply extend the eviction ban in its current state while seeking a commitment from the minister to accelerate schemes like the affordable cost rental scheme and the tenant-in-situ scheme, Cllr Twomey’s motion was rejected by vote with 7 for, 25 against and 3 abstentions.

The current eviction ban will end on 31 March.