Shameful failure of Government to meet housing targets despite record levels of homelessness

Ivana Bacik TD
18 April 2023
  • Reissues call to publish all advice given to Government on lifting eviction ban

Labour leader and housing spokesperson Ivana Bacik has condemned Government’s sustained lack of ambition and failure to meet housing targets.

Deputy Bacik said the delivery of 7,433 social houses in 2022 was welcome but this figure falls far below the clear need.

Deputy Bacik said:

“The Oireachtas returns today after a two week break and I am urging Government to put the urgent resolution of the housing crisis at the centre of its focus. There has been a fundamental lack of commitment to the provision of social and affordable housing under this conservative coalition. With massive budget surpluses, it is ideology, not the economy, that has led to record levels of homelessness.

“Supply is the crucial issue but Government is failing to meet its own targets, targets which themselves are inadequate to deliver the amount of homes needed to keep up with a growing population and to prevent more vulnerable people and families from entering homelessness.

“There is no doubt that the decision to lift the eviction ban was the wrong one. It was made without any evidence.

“Today, I reissue my call to Government to publish all advice given to them in relation to the decision to lift the eviction ban.

“Questions remain as to whether political pressure was applied to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) to delay the release of Q4 figures from 2022 on notices to quit received by renters. Had this information been publicly released before the debates on the eviction ban in the Dáil, as had been expected, there is no doubt that it would have changed the tone of Oireachtas debates on the eviction ban.

“As well as the uncertainty around why this decision was taken, there is also massive uncertainty for renters who have received an eviction notice as to where they can go next.

Government has failed to put in place sufficient contingency plans for people who have received notices to quit. Why was a ‘one stop shop’ to triage queries not put in place during the duration of the eviction ban, for example? Labour wrote to Minister O’Brien in advance of the lifting of the ban asking him how best we can help people at risk of eviction. He has yet to reply. This is nothing short of outrageous for the thousands of renters who are sick with worry and have no place to go.

“Labour and other members of the opposition have put forward a suite of emergency measures and proposed legislation to tackle the issues of supply, affordability and security in the rental market. Instead this Government is opting to force families into homelessness. It is a social catastrophe.”

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