Young Girl And Mother To Be Evicted On New Year's Day, Taoiseach Told

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The Taoiseach has been informed that a five year old girl and her mother are among those facing eviction over the Christmas period.

The Taoiseach was informed of this, amid calls to help those who are in insecure housing.

According to the Department of Housing's latest figures, almost 4,000 children living in emergency accommodation, with 13,000 people homeless as of the end of last month.

These issues were raised by Sinn Féin leader Mary Loud McDonald, who pointed out people who are living "from pay cheque to pay cheque", and facing eviction over the holiday period. 

Such people facing eviction include a five year old girl, and her mother Lilly, along with another couple and their new baby, which has taken "a serious toll on their mental health", according to Ms McDonald. 

"They both feel betrayed as working, tax-paying citizens", stated Ms McDonald. 

Mary Lou McDonald also told the Dáil that in some cases, some families will be forced to sleep in their car, as she called for a no-fault eviction ban to be implemented until the end of March 2024, so people can spend Christmas in their homes.

"4,000 children will wake up on Christmas morning in a hub, a hostel or a bed and breakfast," the Sinn Féin leader said. "For many of these children, it’ll be their third or even fourth visit from Santa in emergency accommodation". 

"No child or family should spend Christmas this way, each child deserves a place they call home". 

Responding to these calls, the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that while he acknowledges that Christmas can be a stressful time for many, he did not believe that an eviction ban was the answer.

"First of all, all we’ll end up then is with a glut of evictions in April, May and June, which would be even harder to deal with", Mr Varadkar said. 

Using a survey by the Residential Tenancies Board, the Taoiseach also added that while many people encounter high rents and hostile landlords, many seem satisfied with their rental situations.

According to the Taoiseach, 30% of renters spend their net pay on rent, which is "well under" the 35% that "academics say is the affordability threshold". He also said that 80% of renters are "positive or very positive" with their situation. 

"In addition to that, it shows that the median rent in 2022 was €1,350. So median means half pay more than that, half pay less than that. So roughly €1,350 is the median rent in the country, two people sharing pay just under €700 each", Mr Varadkar stated.

"not disputing that"

Varadkar's comments were challenged further by Mary Lou McDonald, who replied, "rents are too high Taoiseach, I hope you’re not disputing that". 

She also said that 80% of 4,518 people who received eviction notices, were "no fault" evictions. 

"But for families facing eviction now, and particularly at this time of the year, at Christmas time, it is a solution for them, for the Government to intervene and protect them", she urged. 

Instead of an eviction ban, Mr Varadkar has said that the solution is to step up investment in social and cost-rental housing. He also added that objections to one-bed apartments need to stop, as that is where the greatest need is.

He also told the Dáil that Sinn Féin representatives needed to be "challenged" in the media on the survey findings, which he had mentioned earlier, and was met by Ms McDonald's subsequent reply of "Happy Christmas Taoiseach". 



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