‘We need to change the law of the land’: Cork TD calls for ban on evictions into homelessness

‘We need to change the law of the land’: Cork TD calls for ban on evictions into homelessness
Bunker beds in a family room at homeless shelter Edel House.

A Cork TD has called for a ban on evictions into homelessness and blasted the Government for preventing a bill on the issue from moving forward.

Solidarity TD Mick Barry made the comments off the back of the release of the latest homelessness figures.

The number of people living in emergency accomodation in the south-west region increased by nearly 100 over the last year.

In November 2019, there were 592 people living in emergency accomodation compared to 495 in November 2018 — an increase of 20%.

The figures have been described as “shameful” by charities dedicated to helping the homeless.

“Homelessness is rising sharply in Cork city and in the South West region,” said Mr Barry.

“The majority of people entering homelessness are coming from the private rental sector. Emergency action is needed and that means we need to change the law of the land to now ban evictions into homelessness.”

Mr Barry is the sponsor of the Anti Evictions Bill, which seeks to ban evictions on grounds of sale of property or on grounds of renovation.

The bill won a majority of votes when voted on at the second stage in the Dáil but is being blocked at the third stage by the Government.

“Banning evictions on grounds of sale of the property is the law of the land in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and The Netherlands,” Mr Barry said about the bill. “It should be the law of the land in this country too.”

However, article 17.2 of the constitution prevents laws being passed which might cost the state money unless the law is approved by the Government. Costs arising from administrative oversight and complaints resolution procedures to be carried out by the Residential Tenancies Board are listed as reasons for a money message being required in the instance of this bill.

However, the Government has not sent one, meaning the bill can’t move forward.

“They’ve done it on dozens of opposition bills and it’s becoming quite a controversial thing,”Mr Barry said. “The people who framed the constitution, I’m quite sure, never intended the money message mechanism to be used in this fashion.”

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