McGuinness slams ‘shameful and reprehensible’ Council vote on eviction ban

Sinn Féin Councillor Conor D. McGuinness has criticised the vote by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party councillors against the extension of the eviction ban. The moratorium on ‘no-fault’ evictions comes to an end on April 1st and 119 households in Waterford are set to become homeless on that date. 

McGuinness said the attitude and disregard shown by councillors form Government parties was ‘shameful and reprehensible’. He made the comments after an emergency meeting of Waterford City and County Council that had been called by Sinn Féin to discuss the issue.

McGuinness said:

“Today councillors from Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens voted against extending the eviction ban and against expanding the tenant-in-situ scheme for social and affordable cost-rental tenants. The motion called for the eviction ban to be extended until the end of the year to allow additional time for houses and apartments to be built, and also called on the Government to extent the tenant-in-situ scheme to include renters that are over the income thresholds for housing supports. 

“They voted in the full knowledge that there is just space for eight persons in emergency accommodation across Waterford and City Council and that 119 households are facing eviction from 1st April. 

“I believe that many people across Waterford City and County will be interested to know what way their representatives voted today, and that come election time renters and their families will remember who stood with them and who stood against them. 

“When the eviction ban was first introduced back in November we told the government that they needed to use the breathing space it provided to them to radically increase and accelerate the delivery of social and affordable homes. 

“Unfortunately they squandered the opportunity and supply has not increased during this six month window. Meanwhile official homeless figures have surpassed 11,700 and the private rental market is in chaos. 

“I run constituency advice and outreach clinics in Dungarvan and different parts of West Waterford. I see first hand the harm that is being done to families and individuals by an ineffective and disinterested Housing Minister. There is a real sense of fear, hopelessness and despondency amongst those facing eviction. 

“Organisations and individuals such as Threshold, Peter McVerry, Rory Hearne and the Irish Council for Social Housing have implored Government to extend the eviction ban. The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors has voiced concerns that Garda Stations will soon be used to accommodate homeless families. 

“Today’s meetings saw multiple attempts by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party councillors to deflect, distract and muddy the waters. One Green Party councillor told the meeting that there is ‘nothing to worry about’, while two Fine Gael councillors said they had never met a tenant facing a no-fault eviction. Fianna Fáil made two botched attempts to weaken the motion through spurious amendments, but were ultimately ruled out of order. 

“If they and their party colleagues had spent half as much energy on solving the housing crisis as they did on political games and double-speak this country would be in a much better place. 

“Sinn Féin has published a Dáil Bill to legislate to extend the eviction ban, which will be voted on by TDs on Wednesday. “


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