The Government’s lifting of the ban on evictions come the end of this month ‘beggars belief’ according to People Before Profit (PBP) Waterford representative Una Dunphy.
Reacting to last Tuesday’s decision, the 2020 General Election candidate described the move as “a cruel and unbelievable decision which could lead to an avalanche of notices to quit, evictions, and a dramatic spike in homelessness figures”
Ms Dunphy added: “Representatives from Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens should hang their heads in shame. It beggars belief how the Government parties could make this decision, when national data from the Department of Housing, show the number of homeless people now stands at 11,754, including 3,431 children – the highest number of homeless individuals since current records began in 2014. Both totals have increased by about a third in a year”.
In a PBP statement, Ms Dunphy noted that Waterford has the highest number of homeless people in the South East region, rising by three per cent last month.
“The number of people without a home and accessing emergency accommodation services in Waterford (74) is almost twice as high as any other South East county,” she continued.
A total of 221 adults are currently without a home in the South East (151 men and 70 women). The 25-44 age group accounts for 124 of these (53%), with 45-64 the next highest age grouping in terms of numbers. A total of 35 children are without a home in the region, with 17 families accessing services across the South East.
According to Una Dunphy: “Voters in Waterford should remember this when they are going to the polls. They should remember that Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens are presiding over the worst housing crisis in the history of the State, and yet still will allow measures like the eviction ban to elapse. This is an emergency measure to keep people from becoming homeless, who have nowhere else to go.”
On Friday last, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (FG) said he wasn’t “unduly concerned” if his government became a minority administration in the wake of an expected Sinn Féin motion on the lifting of the ban come Tuesday, March 21.
Describing the decision not to extend the band as difficult and emotive, Mr Varadkar said it was something the cabinet had “thought long and hard and agonised on”.
For his part, Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohue (FG) stated: “I ultimately believe that if the moratorium was extended we would have less rental accommodation available in the future. And the challenges of today will become even harder tomorrow.”
People Before Profit’s Una Dunphy.
Photo: Joe Evans