Tánaiste Micheál Martin has accused Sinn Féin of “playing politics” with the housing crisis through their attempt to extend the eviction ban.
Speaking to Newstalk on his way into the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning, Mr Martin said there were “definitive votes” on the eviction ban last week and pointed out that Sinn Féin agrees the eviction ban should not be permanent.
The Sinn Féin stance would see the eviction ban issue kicked further down the road, he claimed.
Labour and Sinn Féin are ramping up pressure on the Government for allowing the eviction ban to expire by forcing two further Dáil votes as a result of the controversial decision.
With the Coalition’s official Dáil majority down to just one TD, the Opposition is seeking to chip away at the support it often gets from Independent TDs.
The Labour Party has tabled a motion of no confidence in the Government, while Sinn Féin has proposed legislation that would see the eviction ban extended into 2024.
The Government decided earlier this month to allow the ban to expire from the end of March, though protections will remain in place for some renters until mid-June.
Mr Martin said: “Sinn Féin themselves are saying there shouldn’t be an indefinite eviction ban so I think what they are doing is playing politics with the issue. They themselves are saying the decision we took now, they say, they would take in January. They also acknowledge you can’t transform the situation in a number of months.”
The Government’s only motivation was to, “maintain the existing level of properties that are in the market for rent but also attract more into the market.”
Officials were continuing efforts to speed up the supply of housing and were looking at, “modern methods of construction to see if we can increase that and build houses more rapidly.”
The Dáil had dealt with the eviction ban in “definitive votes” last week, he said.
“My own view is that the Opposition will do what an Opposition feels it has to do but Government must remain focused on the issues and making a difference for people out there on the ground.”
The Dáil will see two votes on Wednesday, the first in the morning on a Coalition confidence motion in response to the Labour bid to unseat it, and the second vote on the Sinn Féin Bill that evening.