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'There is no issue there' - Taoiseach made fully aware Attorney General is a landlord ahead of rent freeze meeting

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Paul Gallagher SC. Photo: Tom Burke

Paul Gallagher SC. Photo: Tom Burke

Paul Gallagher SC. Photo: Tom Burke

Taoiseach Michéal Martin has said there is no conflict of interest after it emerged the Attorney General, who raised legal concerns about extending the ban on evictions and rent increases, is a landlord.

"There is no issue there," a spokesperson for the Taoiseach said.

"The Taoiseach was made aware and the matter was fully disclosed to him in advance of Monday's cabinet meeting," the spokesperson added.

Attorney General Paul Gallagher, who lives in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, is listed on the Residential Tenancies Board's register as being the landlord of a property in Milltown, Dublin.

Mr Gallagher advised the Government that the legal underpinning for the rent freeze and eviction ban put in place since the coronavirus pandemic hit could be legally challenged, describing it as "uncertain".

He raised significant concerns about the constitutionality of extending the ban on evictions and rent increases.

Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien, who became locked in a legal battle with Mr Gallagher over the extension, announced that the ban on rent increases will be extended until August 1.

The Government's freeze on rents will come to an end, but legislation will be enacted directly after the freeze ends to ban evictions until January next year.

Housing activists are calling for the ban on rent increases to be extended until next year, describing the short extension as "inadequate".

Mr Gallagher, one of the country's leading barristers, was appointed Attorney General for the second time in June.

The senior barrister was previously appointed by former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern as legal advisor to Fianna Fail in 2007.

A spokesman for the Attorney General said: “The matter was fully disclosed to the Taoiseach and the Cabinet.”

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