Leo Varadkar distances himself from eviction ban decision
The claims were made by veteran homelessness campaigner Fr. Peter McVerry.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has denied claims that he overrode Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien over a possible extension of the eviction ban.
The ban, which came into effect during the pandemic, was lifted, causing much furore over the weekend as the legislation lapsed at midnight on Friday.
Opposition TDs have levelled heavy criticism at the feet of the coalition government. Labour have labelled Barry Cowen's defence of lifting the eviction ban as "disgraceful".
One of the government's most ardent critics though has come in the form of veteran homelessness campaigner Fr. Peter McVerry.
Fr. McVerry just last week detailed the "horror movie" reality of the eviction ban for tenants. This week, he told The Irish Times that he had a credible source who told him the Fine Gael leader had overruled his Minister for Housing.
However, speaking on Newstalk Breakfast on Tuesday morning, the Taoiseach described Fr. McVerry's claims as "100 per cent untrue" and that there was "zero evidence" to support them.
Due to the government failing to undertake work on potential policy measures which would aid in alleviating the impact of lifting the ban, Fr. McVerry believed that this had meant that there was a collective intention amongst government that the ban would be extended.
The veteran campaigner appeared braced for confrontation, seemingly knowing that the government would strenuously deny the claims;
"The public will have to decide whether to believe me or the government, but I think the evidence points in my direction".
Adding to his previous comments, Fr. McVerry spoke on RTE Radio's Today with Claire Byrne, where he stated his belief that there is a "tsunami of misery coming down the road" as a direct result of the government's decision.
When pressed by the presenter on the veracity of his source, Fr. McVerry responded by saying that "I can't produce evidence because I can't reveal my sources".
The decision to lift the eviction ban has also seen the return of large-scale protests to the streets of the capital, with hundreds of protestors gathering outside Leinster House on Saturday, the day after the ban's cessation.
Off the back of these protests, many, including Fr. McVerry, have aired their disdain over the eviction ban debacle.
The veteran campaigner stated that "This is the most controversial and I think the worst decision this government has made in a lifetime".
During the Taoiseach's interview on Newstalk earlier on Tuesday morning, the Fine Gael leader stated that his Minister for Housing, Darragh O'Brien, had presented three different options to Cabinet.
The first of these options was not to extend the eviction ban, and that was what happened, according to the now two-time Taoiseach.
In terms of offering hope to those hit by the lifting of the eviction ban, Varadkar offered his belief that new planning regulations would "speed things up" in terms of providing more affordable accommodation.
However, these claims come fresh off the back of the failure of the government's tenant-in-situ housing scheme, which failed to register any meaningful results in lessening the exponentially-growing housing crisis.
Mr. Varadkar concluded by remarking that "people who are the loudest about the housing crisis are the ones who are most likely to object to your home", before adding that he could not "in good conscience" do such a thing during a housing emergency.
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