A Cork housing tenants union has condemned this week’s vote ending the eviction ban, saying it will cause the greatest number of evictions since the Famine.
Community Action Tenants Union (CATU) Cork branch is planning to take part in a national protest in Dublin at the Spire in O’Connell Street at 2pm on March 31. A similar protest will take place in Cork at a location yet to be announced, for those who cannot travel to Dublin.
CATU was established in 2019 and has about 2000 members in local branches throughout Ireland. CATU’s protest also forms part of Housing Action Day 2023, a Europe wide mobilisation coordinated by a group called the European Action Coalition (EAC) for the Right to Housing and to the City.
Cork spokesperson Brian O’Kane described the vote ending the eviction ban as “disgraceful”.
“There has been talk that it will cause the greatest amount of evictions since the Famine times,” he said. “The Government has not been looking after the poorest people, and we as activists on the frontline are going to see the greatest bulk of evictions. We’re going to see people moving into homelessness who are at risk. It’s horrific, and the Government should be ashamed of themselves.” Mr O’Kane said the Cork protest will see CATU line up with its allies, anti-dereliction campaigners Anois, and the Students Union movement, calling for action. “Hopefully we’ll get a few up to Dublin, but Cork will be very well represented in this protest,” he said.
“We are seeing more people confused as to whether they could be all of a sudden evicted,” said Mr O’Kane. “That’s the general experience. People are coming to CATU constantly these past months, fearful that they are going to lose their homes, and they don’t know where they are going to put their children, access schools, or go to hospitals. People are afraid, it’s a widespread fear in Cork city specifically.” Even where people are financially stable, if they are evicted, they often have nowhere to go and live, given the scarcity of available suitable accommodation, said Mr O’Kane. CATU is a not a specialist agency which can estimate the numbers of people who are at risk of homelessness, but the feeling on the streets of Cork is that more people are anxious about their tenancies, and their security of tenure, he added.