Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

10.43 21 Jul 2020


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Sinn Féin's Eoin Ó Broin says he 'simply doesn't trust this Government' when it comes to protecting renters.

He said ministers' handling of the rent freeze and eviction ban has been a 'shambles', and he has now called for the measures to be extended until the end of the year.

Last night the Government announced that the measures would be extended by 11 days to allow them to prepare legislation offering 'real protection' to tenants and landlords.

The announcement came hours before the emergency legislation allowing for the measures was due to expire.

Sinn Féin has said they understand the legislation will seek to ban evictions until January 2021, but that the ban on rent increases is to end in August.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Deputy Ó Broin said there are "tens of thousands" of renters who've been temporarily laid off due to COVID-19 restrictions.

'I simply don’t trust this Government in terms of renters' - Eoin Ó Broin

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He said: "They’re predominantly young... and they work in sectors of the economy which because of the restrictions aren’t going to reopen this year.”

“The fact that the minister only announced his extension two and a half hours before the deadline expired last night shows what a shambles they’ve made of this.

“We’ve got an 11 day extension of the existing ban, and a promise of legislation that we have yet to see.

“I’m not aware of any consultation with landlord organisations or tenant organisations… I can say for sure there’s been no consultation with opposition. That worries me, because I simply don’t trust this Government in terms of renters."

The Sinn Féin TD acknowledged there is a need to ensure the emergency measures aren't abused.

He said: “Landlords have rightly raised the issue of tenants who are currently engaged in significant anti-social behaviour, and they can’t issue a notice to quit. I have no difficulty with having the emergency legislation amended for such cases to be taken to the Residential Tenancies Board.

“Likewise, there are reports of a small number of tenants who have an ability to pay their rents - they haven’t lost their job due to COVID-19 - and they’re not paying their rent. Again, I have no difficulty with those cases being taken to the RTB."

However, he stressed that a “vast majority” of tenants who have lost income due to the pandemic economic restrictions need protection.

He said the "crucial point" is that the measures need to be extended until the end of 2020, and he also called for more to be done to promote the use of rent supplement for those struggling to pay their rents.

Main image: File photo of Eoin Ó Broin. Picture by Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

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