Eviction figures would not have changed decision to end ban – Varadkar

Eviction Figures Would Not Have Changed Decision To End Ban – Varadkar
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said there had been 40,000 landlords who left the sector in the past five years, and the eviction ban was “accelerating that”. Photo: PA Images.
Share this article

Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has insisted that if ministers knew the number of eviction notices served in the final quarter of last year, it would not have changed the decision to end the ban.

He was speaking after reports emerged that the Department of Housing knew about the huge numbers of people served with eviction notices before ending the moratorium on no-fault evictions.


The five-month winter ban lapsed at the end of March after ministers decided not to extend the measure, despite record-high homelessness and soaring rent and house prices.

The Dublin Inquirer reported that the Department of Housing was sent the latest Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) quarterly figures on notices to quit weeks before they were published.

Those figures showed that 4,300 notices were served in the final three months of the year.



Government ministers have denied the significance of this, despite it happening before the Cabinet agreed on March 7th to lift the ban.

Mr Varadkar told reporters on Wednesday: “There were a number of meetings about the end of the eviction ban: Cabinet meetings, Cabinet subcommittee meetings. I’m loath to say exactly what happened at which meeting because there are quite a number.


“What I can say is we didn’t have the exact numbers, but certainly the data that was coming to us from the Department of Housing at the Cabinet subcommittee, we did know that there was a significant increase in notices to quit, we didn’t have the exact numbers, but we did know that there had been a significant increase in the notices to quit.”

He said that the significant increase was due to a change in the way they were being reported, and also because of an acceleration of landlords leaving the market.

He said there had been 40,000 landlords who left the sector in the past five years, and the eviction ban was “accelerating that”.

“I want to make very, very clear, there will be people here who will try and create a false impression that if we had had these exact numbers, that we would have made a different decision.


“That’s absolutely not the case. One of the (reasons) why we decided not to extend the eviction ban was precisely because there was an acceleration of landlords leaving the market, the number of notices to quit was increasing, and were we to extend it by another three or six months, that would have left us with an even bigger problem down the line.”

Labour leader Ivana Bacik called on Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien to clarify whether a request had been made to the RTB to delay publication of Q4 notice-to-quit figures.

Reports had suggested that the figures were due to be published on February 15th, but were not published until more than a month later.

“That’s evidence that we should have had going into those Dail debates and it’s evidence the Government should have had in making a decision whether or not to lift the ban,” Ms Bacik said.


The Department of Housing said it is not uncommon for the RTB to share preliminary data at official level which is then subject to further analysis and verification.

“This data would not have been shared with the minister,” a spokesperson said. “The publication and timing of publication of RTB data is a matter for the RTB.”

Tánaiste Micheál Martin said that the suggestion that the Government or officials delayed the publication of the RTB figures was “outrageous”.

“I think that is an outrageous assertion, and I think we need balance in the debate.

“No one has argued with the fundamental economic rationale that there shouldn’t be an indefinite eviction ban. And that never gets aired, and never gets articulated.

“Our advice very strongly from the Department of Housing was that if you maintain this, you need to do it for two years. It will disrupt the rental market completely. It will breach all forms of trust, and you’ll make the situation far worse. That’s the rationale.”

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© BreakingNews.ie 2024, developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com