Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson Éoin Ó Broin has said he would be happy to sit in the Dáil for 24 hours to pass legislation to ensure “huge numbers” of people are not “saddled” with rental debts through no fault of their own.
“We can’t have people in substantial rent debt,” he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.
Mr Ó Broin warned that many workers who lost their job because of the coronavirus might find themselves at a lower level of wages once the crisis is over.
He wants a rental relief scheme that acknowledges the differences between rents.
"The average rent in Dublin is €1,700, but the rent supplement would cover only a portion of this," he said.
"A person who has lost their job could be “racking up” debt of up to €1,000 per month for three to four months.
"The priority should be rent forgiveness or rent reduction."
Meanwhile, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has said the country’s ability to think of those in need and the collective ability to do the right thing is at the heart of the health response and economic response to Covid-19.
Mr Donohoe told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that the government is asking employers who have had to let people go to look at the scheme the government has introduced. He said employees will be eligible to receive 70% of their income (up to a maximum of €38,000 per year) and employers are not obliged to top this up.
The Minister said the government wants to put companies in a place which is not about closure and when the crisis is over they will be in a position to re-open again.