CORK city councillors have expressed dread over what they fear will be an “onslaught” of homeless cases at the end of the month when the eviction ban expires.
Several motions relating to housing were debated in the council chamber at a meeting this week, including a motion tabled by Sinn Féin councillor Eolan Ryng proposing that the council would appeal to the Government to reverse its decision to end the moratorium on evictions.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr Ryng said he is “dreading what’s coming down the line” in terms of evictions while his party colleague, Mick Nugent said constituents have come to him in acute levels of distress unable to find alternative accommodation.
Separately, Mr Nugent also proposed that the council’s Strategic Policy Committee (SC) on housing would urgently meet to look at provisions that could be made if the ban expires as planned on April 1.
Chair of the Housing SPC, Fianna Fáil councillor Tony Fitzgerald, said he would be happy to arrange this and said he hoped the meeting would be “more people focused rather than political points scoring”.
This was later echoed by others, including the Lord Mayor, Cllr Deirdre Forde.
“I think we’re at a very serious junction. As a council looking after the people of Cork, I think the meeting that Tony will set up is going to be critical.
“I would ask you to leave your political hats at home and come in here with real ideas that we can discuss with the Executive and that we can discuss at national level,” she said.
Independent councillor Thomas Moloney said councillors are being inundated with calls from people in desperate need of housing.
Mr Moloney said that “radical ideas” are needed to tackle the housing crisis.
“Our social housing, it’s fantastic to see so much building going on – and yes that has to go down to the funding that has come down from national Government to Cork City Council – but it really isn’t going to be enough.
“And I don’t know how we can ramp it up. I have put motions down – I have actually sent directors and other people suggestions in looking at log cabins as emergency accommodation,” he continued.
Fine Gael councillor Damian Boylan echoed this sentiment, saying councillors must “get inventive” to come up with innovative solutions to deliver additional housing.
Mr Boylan had a motion on the agenda calling on the council to prioritise the delivery of both modular and prefabricated housing as part of the solution to the housing issue.
He was informed that the council is currently progressing two schemes and is exploring the delivery of further schemes via rapid build methods.
Independent councillor Mick Finn welcomed this and also voiced his support for the motion calling on the Government to reverse the decision on the eviction ban.
Mr Finn said he fears there will be an “onslaught” of people with nowhere to live at the end of the month and that he believes there is “zero sense” in lifting the ban at this time.