A CORK TD has called for the blanket ban on evictions to be immediately reinstated.
The Government introduced a blanket ban on evictions and rent increases in response to the Covid-19 crisis in March, which came to an end on August 1.
Whilst there is legislation in place which bans evictions and rent increases for those who can prove they have been financially impacted by Covid-19 in place until January 2021, Solidarity TD Mick Barry said more needs to be done to protect tenants.
Speaking in the Dáil on Tuesday Deputy Barry said the Government had weakened anti-eviction legislation.
“The end of July in the Dáil, kicking in on August 1, the anti-eviction provisions were weakened.
“Yes it is the case that a ban remained for those who were to be evicted because they were in arrears that were directly related to Covid.
“That is the case, no doubt. But evictions were still allowed on grounds of sale of property, on grounds of refurbishment, on grounds of a relative moving in – in other words on grounds that Threshold tell us are the majority reasons for evictions in this State,” he said.
“What’s opening up here is the prospect of people having to traipse around to find accommodation for themselves in our towns and cities in the middle of a pandemic in a time when the virus is on the rise. That cannot be allowed,” he continued.
Deputy Barry described the possibility of a spike in evictions coinciding with a spike in the virus “an ominous combination” and called for the blanket ban on evictions to be immediately reinstated as a matter of public health.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin conveyed that the legislation in place is sufficient to protect tenants who are struggling financially as a result of Covid-19.
“In terms of the legislation that the Government introduced it is out to January.
“It does protect tenants who are in difficulty because of Covid-19 in terms of income and so on.
“It protects them from rent increases and it protects them from eviction.
“It is a more specific bill than that which preceded it.
“The reason why the blanket ban could not be continued is that it was unconstitutional.
“We were no longer at the time and still no longer are in a lockdown situation,” he said.
“The Minister [for housing] is examining what additional targeted measures may be required in the event that an area is subjected to level four or level five restrictions in line with the Resilience and Recovery Plan for Living with Covid-19 and we will continue to examine that,” the Taoiseach added.