TÁNAISTE Micheál Martin has remained steadfast in the belief that the decision to lift the eviction ban was the correct one, stating that Government had been advised that prolonging the ban “would exacerbate the homeless situation in the fullness of time”.
Mr Martin made the comments while speaking to reporters at the official opening of Focus Ireland's new Cork office on Grand Parade where 16 homes have been developed overhead.
He was also speaking ahead of a protest that took place on Friday evening outside his constituency office in Turner’s Cross organised by a coalition of housing and anti-eviction groups.
“We have to get more supply into the market and the advice was that if you kept the ban going you would do more damage and you would exacerbate the homeless situation in the fullness of time because properties would leave the market and there would be no new properties coming into the market,” Mr Martin said, defending the Government’s decision not to extend the ban.
“There’s a rationale for this and anyone I’ve met, nobody has said to me there should be an indefinite eviction ban, so if people accept that logic then a ban has to be lifted at some stage and the problems could even be worse if you were to prolong it and that’s what has been advised to Government in respect of keeping properties in the market and endeavouring to attract more.
Socialist Party TD for Cork North Central, Mick Barry welcomed the protest that took place yesterday, saying he believed it would be the start of many.
"I think Micheál Martin, Simon Coveney, Michael McGrath and other Government TDs should expect protests to continue as the evictions start to take effect in the weeks ahead," he said.
Mr Martin accepted that more has to be done to tackle the housing crisis.
“And we’re going to do it in terms of additionality, in terms of supply and that, but there has been a lot, a lot of progress made in terms of the provision of social housing - far higher than anything in previous years,” he continued.
Last month, the Government decided not to extend a ban on evictions beyond March 31, having put the ban in place last October.
Asked byif the Government would give consideration to re-introducing the measure for a period of time in the future, Mr Martin said:
According to the Department of Housing’s Homeless Report for February 2023, a total of 11,742 people were accessing emergency accommodation during the week of February 20-26, a decrease of 12 people on the previous month.
In Cork, 528 adults were in emergency accommodation that week, one person fewer than the previous month.