Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has received confirmation from Wicklow County Council (WCC) that there is zero capacity for homeless accommodation in Wicklow as his party call for the eviction ban to be extended.
Sinn Féin’s motion to extend the eviction ban will be debated in the Dáil next Tuesday and voted on next Wednesday. And unless the ban is extended Deputy Brady said those living in Wicklow will have nowhere to go come March 31.
"WCC has confirmed to me that there is zero capacity for homeless accommodation in Wicklow. It is shocking that the government is going ahead with ending the eviction ban, which will see families across Wicklow with nowhere to leave in just a few weeks.
“The government has made the wrong decision on the eviction ban and this will have a devastating impact on people in Wicklow now facing homelessness at the end of the month. There simply isn’t any capacity in local homeless services and people won’t have anywhere to go.
Calling on his fellow Wicklow TDs, Stephen Donnelly, Simon Harris, and Stephen Matthews, to personally explain where those facing eviction are going to live, Deputy Brady said his party, if elected, would “stand up for people affected by the housing crisis to deliver genuinely affordable homes in Wicklow”.
“It is blatantly clear that the government has no plan to deal with eviction notices served locally here,” he continued. “The reality is there are families, single people and pensioners right across Wicklow who will have nowhere to go.
“It is unacceptable that we have heard nothing from the government TDs about what support those people will receive, despite the urgent need. That is why the government must extend the ban on evictions.
Previously, Deputy Brady described the figures released by the Residential Tenancies Board as “truly shocking and seriously worrying” , and argued that the government appears unable to grasp the severity of the homeless situation.
“Notices issued from July to September would have, in many cases, fallen due from February during the ban period. A huge number of these notices will now fall due in April,” said the Sinn Féin TD. “This will mean more people than ever before will have to leave their homes. Homeless services will not be able to cope. The consequence will be thousands of people forced to stay with family and friends, a rise in rough sleeping, and the prospect of families with children being referred to Garda stations for a safe place to sleep.
"The government does not grasp the severity of the situation, and Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald has written to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar urging him to reverse his government's decision to lift the eviction ban.”
Nationally there were 4,741 eviction notices issued between July and September of last year, figures which Deputy Brady said were a “direct consequence of government failure”
"For years the government has over relied on the private rental sector to meet social and affordable housing need. For six years, single property landlords have been leaving the market. Despite this, the government has abjectly failed to deliver a sufficient volume of social and affordable housing, or to purchase private rental accommodation with tenants in situ.
“The consequence is the number of singles, couples, families with children and pensions facing the harsh reality of homelessness in a matter of weeks. Government must immediately reverse the decision to end the ban on evictions. Emergency legislation must be brought before the Dáil before the ban ends on March 31 and all renters must be given the protection they deserve.
"The government must accompany an extension of the ban on evictions with emergency measures to extend and expand the tenant-in-situ scheme for social and affordable rental and using emergency planning and procurement powers to target vacant and derelict homes and new building technologies to ramp up the delivery of public housing.”