Evictions to be banned in Republic during second lockdown
Evictions will be banned throughout the second lockdown under proposals being brought to Cabinet this week.
The Republic of Ireland will move to level five restrictions tomorrw night for six weeks on the back of public health advice in a bid to weaken the transmission of coronavirus.
Housing minister Darragh O'Brien will bring a memorandum to Cabinet today that will ban evictions during that period, and can be reintroduced if further restrictions are necessary.
"The measures I'm bringing to Cabinet today are a blanket approach that would ban evictions for the period of the restrictions," he said.
"God forbid we have to in future go back to these kinds of measures, they would kick back in immediately."
Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr O'Brien also defended the government's decision to introduce level five restrictions this week - only a fortnight after rejecting similar advice from NPHET.
He said the virus "doesn't respect plans."
"We have to be nimble about things. We have to be able to adapt at the right time," he added.
He said the country has to "tackle the virus head on, to supress its growth."
The minister said he hoped to bring the legislation to the Dail and the Seanad this week.
Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty has welcomed the government's move to ban evictions, but said it should have been introduced while the country was at level three.
He said: "The memo going to Cabinet is to be welcomed. This is something that Sinn Féin pushed very hard for.
"The other reality is many counties are in level three. As a result people have lost their jobs.
"People should have had that protection from being evicted over the last number of weeks. People should also have had that protection of the pandemic unemployment payment."
Mr Doherty also welcomed the decision to move the country to level five restrictions.
But he said it was "deeply frustrating" that there are still two separate approaches to the pandemic in Northern Ireland and the Republic.
He said: "When we have two different advices on a small island, and particularly where I come from, a border county, we can see that in our daily lives.
"We can see that in schools, we can see that in pubs, we can see that in cinemas opened in one side or the other.
"So what Sinn Féin is arguing for is to make the memorandum of understanding that was signed up to by both jurisdictions at the very start of this pandemic, make it into a real working document where we are tied together in relation to the decisions that we make, in terms of modelling and in terms of public health advice."