Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan voted against Labour motion to extend eviction ban just last month
Rebel Government politician to back Sinn Féin vote
Rebel Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan voted against an opposition proposal to extend the controversial eviction ban only last month.
However, she is now insisting she will vote against her own government when Sinn Féin tables a similar motion to the extend the ban when the Dáil returns this week.
The Labour Party tabled a motion on February 9 calling for the ban to remain in place until the end of the year and Dáil records show Ms Hourigan supported a government counter-motion.
Ms Hourigan’s rebel Green Party colleague Patrick Costello also supported the Government in voting down the Labour Party motion.
However, writing in the Sunday Independent over the weekend, Ms Hourigan outlined her reasons for voting in favour of a Sinn Féin motion on extending the ban until January 2024, saying there was “no transparency” around the decision to lift the moratorium at the end of the month.
“What, if any, measures to mitigate the terrible impacts of the decision were discussed,” she said.
“The proposals, hastily announced, were not detailed. If anything, the window between lifting the ban on March 31 and delivering detailed proposals to alleviate the consequences of that decision in June (a full three months later) is likely to create a 90-day free-for-all,” she added.
The Labour Party motion, which was voted down on February 15, called on the Government to “extend the eviction ban until the end of 2023, and mandate the Residential Tenancies Board to inform local authorities when a notice for eviction has been served to a tenant”.
The proposal was among a number of suggestions in a private members’ motion aimed at addressing the housing emergency.
During the debate, Labour finance spokesperson Ged Nash said the ban needed to be extended as the same conditions exist now as when Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien was “dragged, kicking and screaming” into introducing the moratorium last October.
“One way in which the Government can assist renters in very difficult situations is to ensure that the eviction ban is extended,” Mr Nash said.
“Government should then use that time, over the next few months, to get things right because it did not use the last few months to get things right,” he added.
Ms Hourigan did not contribute to the debate but the following week, when the motion was voted on during the weekly voting block, the Green TD voted with the Government.
A senior Labour Party source said Ms Hourigan has “some cheek” to vote against an extension last month before changing her stance a few weeks later.
“What a difference a month – and the cold hard reality of hundreds of voters in Dublin Central being put on the side of the road – marks,” the source said.
Ms Hourigan did not respond to requests for comment at the time of print and Mr Costello has not said what way he intends to vote on the Sinn Féin motion.
Meanwhile, Government Chief Whip Hildegarde Naughton’s office was yesterday unable to say if government TDs, who cannot attend Wednesday’s vote, will be paired with members of the Opposition.
Fine Gael TD Joe Carey was recently rushed to hospital with breathing trouble and is still recovering.
Ms Naughton’s spokesperson said the Government had the numbers to win the vote but could not say how many coalition TDs she believed would vote against extending the ban.
A number of Independent TDs are waiting to see the text of the Government’s countermotion before deciding if they will vote.
However, a government source said the motion is likely to outline actions taken to date and reaffirm commitments to previously announced measures such as the introduction of a scheme which will give tenants first refusal on a property if it is being sold by their landlord.