Ireland

Lifting eviction ban was ‘very difficult’, says minister after husband’s remarks

Media minister Catherine Martin defended the decision on the eviction ban (PA)
Media minister Catherine Martin defended the decision on the eviction ban (PA) Media minister Catherine Martin defended the decision on the eviction ban (PA)

Minister Catherine Martin has said that disagreement is “a fact of life in marriage” after her husband and fellow Green Party TD compared extending the eviction ban to communism.

The Tourism and Media Minister also said that the decision to end the ban in March was one of the most difficult decisions the three-party coalition has had to make.

The Government introduced a ban on no-fault evictions over the winter period amid inflationary pressures and rising homelessness figures, but argued that extending it would worsen the shortage of rental supply and prompt landlords to leave the market.

As homeless figures rise each month, opposition TDs have called for the ban to be reinstated, with the Labour Party calling for it to remain in place until the homeless figures fall for three consecutive months.

TD Francis Noel Duffy, who is the Green Party’s housing spokesperson and Ms Martin’s husband, compared reinstating the ban to “a communist state” in an interview with The Journal.

Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan said in response: “The immediate reinstatement of the eviction ban is ratified Green Party policy put in place through a vote of our membership at policy council early this year.”

Ms Martin said on Wednesday, when asked about his comments, that lifting the eviction ban was a difficult decision to make and that smaller parties find it harder to implement their policies in coalitions.

“In relation to the removal of the eviction moratorium, that was one of the most difficult decisions that this government has had to make. And I’m acutely aware of the difficulty that so many renters are facing, but ultimately we took the decision to not extend the moratorium,” the Green Party deputy leader told reporters.

“But the Green Party did work tirelessly, with input and in consultation with with Deputy Duffy, to ensure a number of protections were put in place to keep renters at risk of eviction in their homes.

“I think maybe what he was trying to say was that we live in a constitutional democracy where hard decisions are made, balancing what is needed for people’s rights and we just couldn’t… as I said, the most difficult decision we had to take.

“We all just have to be cognisant of the difficult situation that so many renters are in, cognisant that this was a very difficult decision in a coalition government where we’re the smaller of the three parties.

“It’s very hard to get policy implemented in a three-party coalition.

“It may be party policy but we voted in the way to end the moratorium, as I said, difficult decision, but we did it as we’re members of a coalition, even though it’s party policy.

“You know, at the end of the day, husbands and wives don’t agree on every single thing and that’s as far as I would go with that – that’s a fact of life in a marriage.”