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Paschal Donohoe claims eviction ban decision is ‘one of the hardest’ he has made

He said the Government were faced with a decision where “no options or choices are easy or good or indeed easy to explain.”

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe said the budgetary decisions he made on housing were ‘right’ (PA)© Damien Storan

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

Fine Gael Minister Paschal Donohoe has confessed the decision to end the eviction ban is “one of the hardest decisions” he has ever been involved in.

"No options or choices were easy or good or indeed, easy to explain,” he told Newstalk Breakfast today.

Earlier this week, the Government confirmed the eviction ban would not be extended past the end of this month – despite the Housing Minister admitting it could cause an “increase in homelessness” in the short-term.

The Public Expenditure Minister has now said he did not take the decision lightly.

"Overall, I accept just how difficult this is, not only as a decision to make but more importantly the consequences it will have for many,” Minister Donohoe told Newstalk listeners today.

“It is certainly one of the hardest decisions I have ever been involved in because I understand the consequences of this for many who are in rental accommodation at the moment.”

He added: “The great challenge that we face is that we have for many years acknowledged that we need to have more rental accommodation.

“We need to have more landlords in the context of so many leaving at the moment.

“If we are at a place where a moratorium on evictions keeps on being extended, it is harder and harder to get new rental accommodation and encourage landlords to stay in the market, let alone encourage new landlords to enter into the rental accommodation sector.

“That, ultimately, is the reason why a decision that I know will be difficult for so many is one the government believes, on balance, is the right one to make."

He continued: “I do know that for many TDs let alone ministers involved in the decision it has been a very, very tough decision to make,” he said.

“While it is a tough decision to make, I am more acutely aware of the consequences it can have on those who are affected by the decision. They are at the forefront of my mind.

“The view that I came to was that if we are in a situation where we extend a moratorium like this quarter by quarter by quarter, ultimately, we will end up with less rental accommodation in our country in the time ahead, making the problems that we have even harder.

“Frequently you are involved in making decisions in which no options or choices are easy or good or indeed easy to explain.

“This is I am afraid one of them.”

The Government have been heavily criticised for the decision.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said the verdict “shows that the Government is not on the side of hard-pressed renters”.

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