The Public Expenditure Minister has insisted lifting the eviction ban was “one of the hardest decisions I have ever been involved in”.
Earlier this week, the Government confirmed that it would not be extending the eviction ban past the end of this month.
The move was described as ‘inhumane’ by opposition politicians, who are warning that it will lead to a surge in homelessness.
Some TDs have gone as far as encouraging renters to refuse to leave their homes if they are facing homelessness.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Minister Paschal Donohoe said Government was facing a decision, “in which no options or choices were easy or good or indeed, easy to explain”.
“Overall, I accept just how difficult this is, not only as a decision to make but more importantly the consequences it will have for many,” he said.
“It is certainly one of the hardest decisions I have ever been involved in because I understand the consequences of this for many who are in rental accommodation at the moment.”
He claimed extending the ban would have led to even greater problems further down the road.
“The great challenge that we face is that we have for many years acknowledged that we need to have more rental accommodation,” he said.
“We need to have more landlords in the context of so many leaving at the moment.
“If we are at a place where a moratorium on evictions keeps on being extended, it is harder and harder to get new rental accommodation and encourage landlords to stay in the market, let alone encourage new landlords to enter into the rental accommodation sector.
“That, ultimately, is the reason why a decision that I know will be difficult for so many is one the government believes, on balance, is the right one to make.”
The decision faced criticism from some in government backbenches as well as from the opposition, with Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan warning that it “flies in the face’ of her party’s principals.
She went as far as to question whether there was anybody in the room willing to uphold “those more compassionate Green Party policies” – a statement she made knowing her party leader Eamon Ryan was involved in the decision.
Minister Donohoe said he expects the Government parties to support each other on the policy.
“I do know that for many TDs let alone ministers involved in the decision it has been a very, very tough decision to make,” he said.
“While it is a tough decision to make, I am more acutely aware of the consequences it can have on those who are affected by the decision. They are at the forefront of my mind.
“The view that I came to was that if we are in a situation where we extend a moratorium like this quarter by quarter by quarter, ultimately, we will end up with less rental accommodation in our country in the time ahead, making the problems that we have even harder.
“Frequently you are involved in making decisions in which no options or choices are easy or good or indeed easy to explain.
“This is I am afraid one of them.”
Minister Donohoe also spoke about the 2040 National Development plan and the cost and timeline for the new Dublin Metrolink project.
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