Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has expressed confidence in Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien following a week on intense scrutiny of the Government's housing policy.
In January, there were 11,754 homeless people in Ireland - the highest figure on record - and charities are concerned the Government's decision to let the eviction ban will expire on March 31st will push that number higher.
Minister O’Brien has conceded “in the short-term we will probably see an increase in homelessness” but said if the ban remained in place landlords would sell up - forcing rents up further in the long-term.
The Taoiseach said no one person is responsible for fixing the housing crisis and the decision to lift the ban had been a “difficult one”.
“[It is a decision] that isn’t popular,” he said.
“One that is hard to defend, one that certainly isn’t going to gain any votes for the Government parties - so why would we do it?
“We think it’s the right thing to do in the medium to long-term and that’s why we’ve taken that decision.”
'It's an emotive issue...and one that we agonised on.' Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on the Government's rationale for ending the eviction ban. pic.twitter.com/t9zPrsEroQ
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) March 10, 2023
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe described it as “one of the hardest decisions I have ever been involved in”.
“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.”
Main image: Leo Varadkar. Picture by: Alamy.com