A TD fought back tears in the Dáil during a scathing attack on the Government over the eviction ban.
Independent TD Verona Murphy came to verbal blows with Tánaiste Micheál Martin as she criticised the Government on planning. She said she wanted to voice her displeasure at having to “sit through a mockery of what has happened".
She told the Dáil that “nobody has won anything".
“You and your minister have failed to influence policy that makes viability a planning consideration,” she said. “It’s time we all stopped the BS. It’s a time when we should be pulling together.
“If I have one child in Wexford that isn’t accommodated, I’ll be bringing it here, and it’ll be sitting in the Ceann Comhairle’s lap.
“You probably don't know what I’m talking about because neither does the Minister for Housing, and that's the worrying bit,” Ms Murphy told the Dáil.
Mr Martin took issue with Ms Murphy’s characterisation of a Department of Housing official as not having “any brains”, responding: “We’re not all as ingenious as you are.” He added that the government is reviewing measures which can help viability.
Meanwhile, the Labour Party has confirmed it will use its private members’ time next week to bring forward a motion of no confidence in the Government over the end of the eviction ban.
Labour leader Ivana Bacik said the no-confidence motion is not something the party does lightly but it had “no choice in the current circumstances”. Ms Bacik said everyone has the right to a home but Wednesday’s vote showed the Government’s belief in this was “qualified”.
“The vote copperfastened the fear and anxiety for everyone in this country who was renting and who has received a notice to quit in recent months,” she said.
She said the Government “cobbled together” half-measures to shore up support for the counter-motion, adding that some of the new proposals “appear to be antithetical” to the government’s own aims.
Ms Bacik said Labour had drafted emergency legislation for a results-based extension of the eviction ban tied to homelessness numbers. She added the rental sector is in “utter meltdown” and the Government has revealed itself to be in a “tailspin”.
Sinn Féin’s finance spokesperson, Pearse Doherty, accused the Government of making a “cruel, heartless and calculated decision” to make more people homeless.
“It was an absolutely despicable act and one which the people in constituencies of every Government TD and every Independent who voted to enable these actions will never forget,” he said.
Tánaiste Micheál Martin said extending the eviction ban would “exacerbate the homeless situation”. “Extending the eviction ban indefinitely will do far more harm than good,” he said and accused Sinn Féin of dishonesty and a “make it up as you go along approach”.
The Tánaiste told the Dáil the easiest thing to do is to call for rent freezes, to call for indefinite bans. "What impact do you think that is going to have on the rental market?" he asked.
He said 13,000 homes were lost in the rental stock last year and Sinn Féin had “demonised landlords from the get-go”. He said it is a “myth” that the Government has done nothing throughout the eviction ban.