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Taoiseach denies lifting eviction ban pushed thousands into homelessness | BreakingNews.ie


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has refuted suggestions that lifting the eviction ban led to thousands of families being pushed in to homelessness.

Speaking to the RTÉ News at One on RTÉ Radio 1,  Mr Varadkar said that homelessness did not fall when the eviction ban was in place.

“It continued to rise for almost every month that eviction ban was in place. And we always knew that once it was lifted that there would be if you like, a deferred homelessness, being realised.

“That was the problem with any of these kinds of bans. Once you lift them you make the problem worse in the longer term. And that was the difficulty.

“Thousands (were pushed in to homelessness by lifting of eviction ban). I don’t think so.”

He stressed that homelessness continues to be a “terrible thing” whilst describing it as “a stain on our society,” particularly where it impacts on children.

“Even a few months of homelessness can have a serious impact on children. There are a lot of factors at play. As big a factor as notices to quit in causing homelessness in Ireland has been family breakdown.

“The solution to the problem is manifold. First of all it is prevention. More people are being prevented from becoming homeless than ever before. More people are being lifted out of homelessness than ever before.

“Bear in mind when we talk about there being 10,000 or 12,000 people being in emergency accommodation, they are not the same people. In the majority of cases it is less than a year and in a lot of cases it is less than six months.

“We want to make sure that where homelessness occurs it is rare, and it is for a short period of time, and it is not repeated.”

He admitted that it was “impossible to say” when we will see a drop in homeless figures.

“I hope they will start to come down at some point this year, and we will be doing everything we can to make sure that happens.

“But while we can influence considerably the number of people who we lift out of homelessness people coming into homelessness is a serious issue. Nobody can predict the number of family breakdowns that are going to happen and increasingly there is migration aspect to homelessness.

If you go back five or six years ago less than 20 per cent of people who were homeless were non Irish citizens. Now it if 40 percent and in some cases there are people who are relatively new arrivals in the country who are not entitled to social housing.”

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