The governing coalition in Ireland, which includes the Green Party, has reversed the ban on evictions despite the strong opposition of Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan and the youth wing of the Irish Green Party. Late night talks amongst coalition leaders resulted in the decision to lift the ban, which is expected to lead to an increase in homelessness figures.
Hourigan, a Dublin Central TD, expressed her frustration with the decision and emphasized the impact it will have on her constituents, who are already struggling with high levels of homelessness. She stated that she would have people in her constituency clinic who have been asked to leave their homes, putting them at risk of becoming homeless.
The young Greens of Ireland point out in an open letter that the Green Party policy convention recently voted to extend the eviction ban by 6 months. “We urgently call on the Government to reconsider their position. A moratorium should remain in place until the Government puts forward a realistic, deliverable plan to ensure emergency accommodation providers are not overwhelmed.”
“The moratorium was implemented at a time of a particular breaking point, with providers of emergency homeless accommodation imploring the Government to act as their services reached full capacity and data from the RTB highlighted a worrying number of eviction notices about to be enforced.”-Young Greens of Ireland
The ban on evictions was put in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and its lifting will result in people being asked to leave their homes for reasons other than non-payment of rent or anti-social behavior. Hourigan believes that this will lead to a jump in homelessness figures, which are already at their highest in the history of the state, with over 11,500 people homeless.
Hourigan argues that the decision to lift the ban does not reflect the Green Party’s values and policies, and that there are alternative solutions that should have been considered. For example, she suggests taking away the sale of a property as a reason for eviction, which would keep people in place and prevent them from becoming homeless.
“I am incredibly frustrated. I don’t think three men in that room thought about me sitting at constituency clinic and having to talk to a mammy who has no roof to put over the head of their child. I don’t think that this decision reflects green party values and I have to say I don’t think anybody in that room and I’m including my own Minister Ryan (leader of the Green Party) was speaking up for those families. this does not represent green politics and this does not represent our party policy.”-Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan
The decision to lift the ban was made by the three leaders of the governing coalition, with the cabinet rubber-stamping the decision. Hourigan expressed her frustration with the decision-making process, stating that she did not believe that anyone in the room had considered the impact on families who would be left homeless.
Despite Hourigan’s strong opposition, the ban on evictions appears to have been lifted, and the government has suggested a tax rebate of 14,000 euros for landlords. However, Hourigan believes that this will do little to help those who are at risk of becoming homeless in her constituency and across Ireland.