Sinn Féin to force Dáil vote on ‘unconscionable’ lifting of eviction ban

Vote could be awkward for Government TDs such as Neasa Hourigan and Patrick Costello who have been critical of decision

Eviction ban

Mary Lou McDonald maintained Sinn Féin’s scathing criticism of what she termed the “unconscionable” decision to end the eviction ban as her party confirmed it will force a Dáil vote on the matter within two weeks.

Sinn Féin is to publish a motion on the decision to lift the eviction ban next week before a debate on Tuesday, March 21st, and a Dáil vote the following day. The vote will be awkward for Government TDs like Neasa Hourigan and Patrick Costello of the Green Party who have publicly called for the moratorium on evictions to continue.

Sinn Féin leader Ms McDonald said she wants the Government to keep the ban in place, and lifting it was “the wrong decision at a time when people are under incredible pressure”.

She accused the Coalition of having “no immediate plan” to support people who have received notices to quit.


The Government has said that extra emergency accommodation has been put in place, and also announced plans to bring in additional protections for renters – though changes to the law required to bring them about may not take place until the summer.

The Coalition decision came amid fears that extending the ban would see more landlords leaving the rental market, further reducing the supply of housing for renters.

Sinn Féin pursued the issue during proceedings in Leinster House on Thursday. Public expenditure spokeswoman Mairéad Farrell asked Taoiseach Leo Varadkar about the decision not to extend the ban at an Oireachtas committee. He said the solution was “preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place”.

Mr Varadkar also told Ms Farrell: “If there’s a large increase in homelessness we have to figure out what is the best way to reverse that – would the reintroduction of an eviction ban reverse that? I think it probably wouldn’t. If I honestly believed an eviction ban for four months or six months would reduce homelessness it would have done it in the last four to six months while we had it in place. So why would reintroducing it do it?”

During heated exchanges in the Dáil Tánaiste Micheál Martin said if the ban had been extended it would have had to be continued for “two years” and this would “irreparably damage supply” in the rental market.

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty told the Dáil how a homeless family was advised to present at a Garda station for a “safe place to stay” after they were told there was no emergency accommodation available for them. “This is before the eviction ban is even lifted,” Mr Doherty added.

The Donegal TD said week after week Fianna Fáil “trot out slogans” that it was the party of home ownership which was “complete and utter nonsense”.

In response, Mr Martin said the only people trotting out populist soundbites in relation to housing was Mr Doherty and his party.

The Tánaiste said “the corner was turned last year” in ramping up housing supply, from 20,000 new builds in 2021 to 30,000 in 2022. He said Sinn Féin opposed Government schemes designed to help boost supply as well as housing schemes at local authority level, and said the party “talk out of both sides of your mouth on this”.

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a political reporter with The Irish Times

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times