Government Must U-turn on Reintroduction of Evictions During Covid

Mon, Aug 17, 2020

Read in 2 minutes

Just Transition Greens members, Green Party Councillor for Clondalkin Peter Kavanagh and Green TD for Dublin Central Neasa Hourigan, have today called on the government to make “an immediate u-turn” on policies that have allowed evictions to continue during the continuing covid pandemic.

Government Must U-turn on Reintroduction of Evictions During Covid

Video footage emerged last week on social media showing a contingent of private security staff undertaking a forced eviction in Phibsboro, which has resulted in nine tenants being made homeless. The legality of the eviction, even in light of July’s legislative changes, is under question, though An Garda Síochána were in attendance at the eviction.

Speaking upon the event, Cllr. Kavanagh says the government must row back its decision to allow evictions again so it can protect vulnerable citizens during a global pandemic:

“Events like those in Phibsboro yesterday are what was feared when the government allowed evictions to continue in any form, and sadly those fears have been shown to be well-founded. People are being put out on the street, and forced into already under-pressure homelessness services, in the middle of a pandemic, right as the ‘r number’ for the disease begins to rise again.”

Echoing Cllr. Kavanagh, Deputy Neasa Hourigan added that recent government legislation is not enough to protect tenants:

“The eviction ban recently legislated for by the government does not provide the necessary protections for most people, and unless we act now, evictions like the one yesterday will continue.

“The narrow requirements of the legislation passed just before the Dáil break, to stop evictions based on rent unpaid due to Covid, do little to protect tenants like those in Phibsboro. As we have witnessed with the reintroduction of lock down measures over the last week in the midlands the pandemic has not gone away. Pushing families into homelessness at this time is not in the public interest and is not best practice in terms of public health during this crisis.”

The video, published by the group ‘Dublin Central Housing Action’, shows someone who is allegedly the landlord of the premises claiming the notice for eviction was sent to tenants via Facebook, despite Irish law requiring the notice of termination to be in writing to be considered valid.

Evictions, which were initially subject to a ‘blanket ban’ during the pandemic, are now only prohibited in circumstances where the tenants ability to pay rent have been affected by Covid. Green Party TD for Dublin Central, Neasa Hourigan, voted against these measures, while Greens Minister for State Joe O’Brien abstained from the vote.