The Government will do "everything that we can" to ensure people remain in their homes this winter, the Minister for Justice has said.
Helen McEntee said the Government is seeking the advice from the Attorney General on whether it can implement an eviction ban, to make sure such a move would not be open to a constitutional challenge.
Speaking on RTÉ's The Week in Politics, Ms McEntee said this is a "different situation" to Covid-19 when a moratorium on evictions was put in place. However, she said the Government does not want a situation where thousands of people are left homeless:
"We are looking at this, we are very conscious of the fact that people are under pressure at the moment," she said.
"Similar to energy security and supply, where the Government has been absolutely clear that people won’t be left without heating or able to cook food or to support their families, we are going to do everything that we can to ensure that people are kept in their homes in so far as possible."
The minister said there are "potential unintended consequences" to such a policy, including that more landlords may leave the market.
"We do not want another situation where we have even more people leaving the market in that regard, because we need these type of landlords," she said.
Minister for Justice @HMcEntee says that the Government is going to do "everything that we can to make sure that people are kept in their homes"#RTEtwip rebroadcasts tonight at 18:30 on the RTÉ News Channel and at 22:55 on @RTEOne pic.twitter.com/ZHqcQDZxuW— The Week in Politics (@rtetwip) October 9, 2022
"They are the type of landlords - in the vast majority of cases - that work with their tenants, that support them, that are flexible where challenges arise. We need these type of people in the market and we need to make sure that they don’t disappear," she said.
Speaking on the same programme, Sinn Féin’s Louise O’Reilly said the Government has failed in its response to the housing crisis.
She said the coalition has put in place a tax credit for renters "that will only fuel an increase in rental cost because there is no ban on increases in rents."
Sinn Féin TD @loreillysf says that the Government must acknowledge that they've failed in their response to the #HousingCrisis#RTEtwip rebroadcasts tonight at 18:30 on the RTÉ News Channel and at 22:55 on @RTEOne pic.twitter.com/2KQgmCipqz— The Week in Politics (@rtetwip) October 9, 2022
She said a figure of 11,000 homeless people is looming and "at some point you have to acknowledge that you have failed and that what you are doing has not worked and that necessitates a change in approach."
Jennifer Whitmore of the Social Democrats said it's "completely negligent" that the advice of the Attorney General on an eviction ban has not been taken before now.
"It should have been done before now, before we are going in to the winter period.
Social Democrats TD @WhitmoreJen says that the Government has waited until crisis point before looking at an #EvictionBan and accuses the Government of negligence#RTEtwip rebroadcasts tonight at 18:30 on the RTÉ News Channel and at 22:55 on @RTEOne pic.twitter.com/XEIGckx6PB— The Week in Politics (@rtetwip) October 9, 2022
"We knew it was going to be a very difficult winter, we knew what was going to happen with the homelessness issue. And yet you leave it to this point in time to seek that advice, it is not acceptable."
She said the Government’s response is similar to its response to the energy crisis "because what you have done in both instances is you have waited until the crisis point where people are completely at risk before you start dealing and looking at it."