Dark day | 

Renters feel ‘abandoned’ as eviction ban deadline approaches, charity says

Homeless groups are finding it “really, really difficult” to keep people safe.

A woman walks past the tents of homeless people in Dublin city centre (Niall Carson/PA)© Niall Carson

Dublin Simon Community outreach workers on the Ha'penny Bridge

Níall FeiritearSunday World

Renters contacting the Simon Community for help as the eviction ban D-day approaches feel “abandoned” by those in power, according to the charities’ director.

This comes after a Dáil vote on ending the moratorium at the end of March following a deal with a group of independents. The Government was backed by 83 TDs, with 68 voting against.

“It is a dark day,” The Simon Community’s Executive Director Wayne Stanley said.

A motion tabled by Sinn Fein had called for the ban to be extended until January next year, as the chronic shortage of housing continues to pose a challenge for the three coalition parties.

Dublin Simon Community outreach workers on the Ha'penny Bridge

The number of people being made homeless is expected to soar once the ban is lifted.

Speaking on Newstalk, Mr Stanley shared the despair his charity is dealing with and what the Simon Community had wanted to happen.

“The reason we were calling for an extension of the moratorium wasn’t that we would have a never-ending moratorium.

“We accepted that was an emergency action – but we needed time for these initiatives to bed in and protect people.

“I think the overriding sense that I am getting from people who are contacting our services is that the Government has really abandoned them,” he said.

Mr Stanley doesn’t believe the Government’s plans to deal with the situation will be effective. His group find the situation depressing to deal with.

“We don’t know if some of the capacity that the Government are attempting to put in through the local authorities is going to materialise.

“It is very, very difficult even to provide additional emergency accommodation at the moment.

“Again, we are going to be working hard to make sure that people are safe and are kept safe. That's our job we are on the front line of this but it is really, really difficult and it is a dark day,” Mr Stanley concluded.

Meanwhile, the Green Party has been clamping down on dissenters over the eviction ban issue.

TD Neasa Hourigan was suspended for 15 months and removed from her role as chair of the Budgetary Oversight committee after voting against the Government.

“The Green Party parliamentary party has agreed to remove the party whip and suspend Deputy Neasa Hourigan from the parliamentary party for not less than 15 months after she voted against the Government earlier this evening… Deputy Hourigan will also lose her Oireachtas committee positions,” the party said in a statement.

The Government believes that ‘in the round’ extending the ban on evictions is not a good idea as it would store up problems for the future.

"Some 20,000 to 30,000 Irish citizens return home every year. Most do not own their own house or apartment, but many do, and extending this moratorium for another six months or a year would not have been right or fair to those people," Mr Varadkar told the Dáil.

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