As the Eviction Ban ends, Peter McVerry describes "horror movie" reality
The eviction ban ends this week following the government's victory over an opposition motion to extend it.
After months of parliamentary debates and political jibing, this week marks the end of the government's pandemic-induced eviction ban.
The move, which was defended by Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen on Wednesday with the ill-judged analogy of it being "like making sweets free for children", has seen widespread backlash from opposition politicians and other prominent figures.
One such figure is Fr. Peter McVerry, a well-known veteran campaigner in the battle against homelessness.
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast on Friday morning, Fr. McVerry described the cessation of the eviction ban as a "horror movie" for tenants, before adding his concerns over the availability of emergency accommodation.
"I’m horrified at what’s going to happen in the next few months. I am extremely concerned and I think this is a horror movie for all those tenants who have received a notice to quit and they are totally at a loss as to what to do", said the campaigner.
Since the easing of Covid restrictions, the availability of hotels to house people in on a temporary basis has fallen drastically as the tourism industry gradually returns to its pre-pandemic heights.
Discussing this lack of emergency accommodation, Fr. McVerry remarked "There is virtually no emergency homeless accommodation available anywhere in the country".
Many landlords had lobbied for the ban to be lifted, claiming that they were being placed under undue financial stress by the government's policy, with many wanting to sell their properties rather than rent them.
This is a claim which Fr. McVerry rubbished when saying "the inconvenience of renting, perhaps another 12 months is utterly minor compared to the trauma that is now going to be inflicted on those households who are facing eviction".
With local and European elections looming next year, along with murmurings surrounding a potential November general election, many feel the government decided against extending the ban due to the negative press it would bring about during an election cycle.
This is a sentiment echoed by Fr. McVerry, who stated that "I think it's an appalling decision. I think the decision was made to prevent this happening in the early months of next year when local and European elections are pending".
"There is not one single homeless charity who supports the ending of the eviction ban. Every single charity has come out and said this is a disaster", an exasperated Fr. McVerry vented.
With pressure mounting on this government's housing policies, following Leo Varadkar's ascension to the title of landlord and the failing of the tenant-in-situ scheme, Fr. McVerry has added his voice to the list of vehement objectors.
When asked if he had advice for struggling tenants, the veteran campaigner delivered a sombre remark; "I don't know what you do, to be honest. Yeah, I mean, that's just the nightmare. That's the nightmare".
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