Sinn Fein TD Eoin O Broin says gardaí should be given power to stop illegal evictions

“I’ve spoken to guards who’ve attended illegal evictions and they are very conflicted because the law is not helping.”

Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin. Photo: Gareth Chaney

Eviction notice

Lyra has curated the bill for this year's Rock Against Homelessness

Níall Feiritear

Gardaí should have the power to stop landlords illegally evicting their tenants, a Sinn Féin TD has said.

Currently, illegal evictions are dealt with in a civil manner and gardaí do not intervene unless a criminal offence is being committed.

Sinn Féin’s Housing Spokesperson Eoin O’Broin took to the airwaves on Newstalk Breakfast today to agree with the recommendations of The Residential Tenancies Board who say gardaí should be allowed to intervene during illegal evictions.

“There is no immediate effective remedy. Renters can seek an injunction in the Circuit Court but if illegal evictions happen in the evening or on the weekend or in parts of rural Ireland, then it’s very ineffective,” Mr O’Broin said.

Deputy Ó Broin described the illegal eviction of a family within his local jurisdiction and how the members of an Garda Síochana feel like their hands are tied in such situations.

Eviction notice

“Even where a tenant is being physically removed from a property, it’s a very, very grey area,” he said.

“I’ve spoken to some guards who’ve attended illegal evictions and they themselves are very conflicted because the law is not helping clarify the situation.

“So, this is one of a number of very sensible recommendations from the Residential Tenancies Board.”

The Irish Property Owners' Association described the recommendations as having good intentions but would constitute a “disproportionate response that will unduly deter landlords from meaningfully participating in the property market”.

Deputy Ó Broin said the IPOA were doing themselves “no favours” and that illegal evictions were traumatic for those affected by them.

“The idea that you would say, ‘Yes, illegal evictions are wrong but the guards shouldn’t have any power to stop them’ - I think is bizarre,” he said.

“The overwhelming majority of landlords out there would never even consider engaging in an illegal eviction and, therefore, it won’t have any impact on these recommendations on the overwhelming majority of law-abiding landlords or new investors into the market,” Mr O’Broin said.

The country is currently suffering from a widespread accommodation shortage with latest figures showing just under 12,000 homeless people in Ireland.

Tomorrow will see some of Ireland’s top musicians coming together in Dublin’s 3Olympia to raise awareness for the issue and gather much needed funds for homeless charity, Focus Ireland.

The Rock Against Homelessness event will be headlined and curated by Cork singer Lyra and she will be joined by Aimée, Toshin, Pastiche, Bobbi Arlo, Isaac Butler, and Jack O’Rourke with MayKay.

Also adding to the night’s entertainment are Cat Dowling and Larabel.

“It is really shocking to see that homelessness has shot up 30pc in the last year to a new record total of 11,632 and it’s shameful that nearly 3,500 of these are children,” said Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan.

“Events like Rock Against Homelessness have raised a much-needed €170,000 for Focus since the first concert in 2016.

"This major event also brings hope to people who are homeless as it shows them that people care about them and want to help.”

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