Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle slams Government for decision to lift eviction ban

Pringle slams Government for decision to lift eviction ban

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, slammed Government for its decision to lift the eviction ban, citing figures from Donegal to point out the severe lack of housing capacity.

Addressing the Taoiseach today during Leaders’ Questions, Deputy Pringle said: “You’re quoted in the media as saying that the Government is seeking to balance the rights of tenants and landlords. Well, I think it’s no surprise to me on what side that balance has fallen, given your neo-liberal habits.

“Perhaps you would help my constituents in Donegal balance the figures for the county. This morning there are only 49 houses available to rent in Donegal.

“Twenty-seven of these are in Letterkenny. Yet there are over 1,500 short-term lets available on AirBnB. 

“Houses to rent in Ballyshannon – 2; Ballybofey – 1; Dungloe – 1; Kilcar – 1; Falcarragh – 1; Buncrana – zero; Carndonagh – zero; Convoy – zero; Carrick – zero; Donegal town – zero; Killybegs – zero,” he said.

The deputy said: “Of the 49 houses available, none are affordable for those on HAP. A single person on jobseekers would have to pay over 62% of their income to rent the cheapest one-bed shown on Daft this morning.

“A family with three children would have to find €230 per week just to keep the roof over their heads after HAP at the present rates for the average three-bedroom house in Donegal. But I’ve told you before that HAP is failing and we have 2,606 households in Donegal locked into these failing tenancies. 

“There’s almost 2,700 people on the council housing list in Donegal, most waiting years and years for an offer. According to North West Simon figures, the average number in emergency accommodation has trebled in the region from 2016 to 2022 – 108 for one week in January alone.

“There’s less than 40 emergency beds in the region. This doesn’t account for the hidden homelessness figures that we know exist.

“Nor does it include the impending explosion in rental need to be generated by the defective blocks saga for which your government has no plan,” he said.

Deputy Pringle said: “It’s clear that there is no capacity, there will be a catastrophic failure in the housing sector in Donegal to compound that which already exists. Week after week we hear announcements from yourself and the Minister, but I can tell you it is having zero impact on the ground in my constituency. 

“These figures are repeated all across the country. Over 3,500 children are homeless. That’s a shameful indictment of your tenure and it’s about time you owned it and admitted that you have failed and failed utterly.”

He said: “You need to build public housing – that’s the only way we do it. And we need to keep this eviction ban in place so that nobody can go into homelessness.”

Deputy Pringle said: “What we need is a public house-building programme and keep the eviction ban in place while that is getting up and running and then you would see the need for the eviction ban would decline, because houses are being provided.”

The deputy asked: “The question is, if you’re proved to be wrong in a couple of months’ time will you actually reverse the decision? I don’t think so.”