A rent freeze is "the very least" that's now needed to address the housing and homelessness crisis, according to campaigner Fr Peter McVerry.
He was speaking amid strong criticism of the Budget measures on housing, with opposition parties saying there's "absolutely nothing" for renters included.
Speaking in the Dáil yesterday, the Taoiseach said the Housing Minister will bring in a rent increase cap below the level of inflation "in the coming weeks".
The Irish Independent today reports a 2% cap on rent increases could be introduced as early as next month.
However, Fr Peter McVerry told Newstalk Breakfast he doesn't believe that would be enough.
He said: "The rents are far too high - I think everybody acknowledges that.
“The very least we have to do is freeze the rents.
"When we had the rent freeze and ban on evictions during the COVID months, the number of homeless people dropped by almost 2,000 - it had a huge, huge effect.
“I would like to see both of these measures brought into effect again.”
Several opposition parties and campaigners have called for rent freezes or other major State rent controls to be introduced.
Responding to People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett's call for rent controls, Taoiseach Michéal Martin yesterday told the Dáil: "We have been told that a freeze would be unconstitutional.
"It is easy to keep shouting we should freeze rents for three years but we are being told it cannot be done."
In response, Deputy Boyd Barrett suggested there should be a referendum if rent controls can't be introduced now.
The Government's Housing for All plan has pledged that any rent value increases in rent pressure zones will be linked to inflation.