THE leader of the Sinn Féin group on Cork City Council councillor Mick Nugent has written to officials at City Hall calling for an emergency meeting of the full council to discuss the impact of the lifting of the eviction ban on individuals and families in Cork.
It comes as the Government defeated Sinn Féin’s motion calling for the eviction ban to be extended, securing a majority of 83 votes to 68 in the Dáil on Wednesday.
Mr Nugent said Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil TDs “effectively voted to sign eviction notices for at least 500 individuals and families in Cork”.
“Given the gravity of the situation, we believe that an emergency meeting of the full council is now required to discuss the impact this will have on an already disastrous housing situation in Cork City.
“Cork City Council must be prepared with an emergency plan to deal with this impending crisis, and it’s important that every councillor has the opportunity not only to contribute to this plan but also to make clear their own position on the Government decision to lift the ban.
“There can be no hiding place for any public representative on a decision that has such grave consequences for citizens of our city. Every single elected member of Cork City Council must stand up and be counted.
"Let's be clear, the Government has chosen, with eyes wide open, to escalate a housing emergency that was already out of control,” he said.
He said that while the Government has “thrown in the towel on renters”, it is not something Sinn Féin is going to do either locally or at a national level.
“We’re putting any pressure we can on the Government to basically reverse the decision on the eviction ban,” he told.
He said that the solutions that have been offered by Government, such as the tenant-in-situ purchases scheme, are not immediate solutions for those facing homelessness next month.
“It’s unclear at the moment whether local authorities, including Cork City Council, will have the staff or resources for this and if they don’t then the Minister needs to know that.
“A figure of 500 has been mentioned in terms of people facing eviction in Cork.
“So, that’s the question we’d be posing, what measures are available or can be put in place, what extra resources are there or can be made available to support what could be a tsunami of people facing eviction?
“We do want to work with the City Council in terms of putting a plan together but also councillors, through that, could engage with City Council management on putting a plan together,” he said.
Mr Nugent described the lifting of the eviction ban as “a line-in-the-sand moment on housing” and said local authorities must be to the fore in opposing the decision and in challenging “bad policies of national Government that continue to hamstring local efforts to respond to the unprecedented housing crisis”.
Cork City Council has been contacted byfor comment.