We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Alamy Stock Photo
Leo Varadkar

'100% incorrect': Taoiseach denies claim he overruled Housing Minister to end the eviction ban

The mood music from Government right up to the decision to lift the ban was that it would be extended.

LAST UPDATE | 3 Apr 2023

THE TAOISEACH HAS denied a claim that he overruled Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien on a proposal to extend the eviction ban beyond 1 April.

A spokesperson for the housing minister has also said in a statement today that “there is no question of him being overruled as suggested”.  

The claim was made by Fr Peter McVerry in a radio interview this morning, in which the veteran homeless campaigner suggested that the Taoiseach opted not to continue with the ban over his Fianna Fáil Cabinet colleague.

The ban was lifted on Saturday following a Cabinet decision earlier in the month, where it is understood a number of senior ministers spoke out against the lack of preparation and measures in place to support tenants. 

Speaking this morning, Fr McVerry said: 

“My understanding is that the Minister for Housing wanted to extend the ban and was acting in preparation for extending the ban but he was overridden by the Taoiseach and that’s why there was no preparation made during the five month ban for mitigating the effects for ending this ban.” 

McVerry told Alan Corcoran’s Morning Mix on South East Radio that mitigating measures, such as requiring landlords who want to sell their house to engage with their tenants and local authorities, requires legislation before they can be implemented.

“And if they had intended to end the ban, why didn’t they put that legislation into place during the five months when the ban was enacted? They didn’t do it. It was a last minute panic attempt to reassure the public that they had it under control,” he said. 

However, asked about the comments today, a spokesperson for the Taoiseach denied the claim that he overruled O’Brien. 

“This claim is 100% incorrect and without any foundation,” a spokesperson said.

In a statement this afternoon, a spokesperson for the housing minister said: 

“Minister O’Brien firmly believes that the decision to end the winter eviction moratorium, as planned on March 31st, is the correct decision.

The Minister has said this consistently and there is no question of him being overruled as suggested.”


The statement goes on to say that Government did use the period of the moratorium to increase social housing supply and emergency accommodation, stating that 6,000 new social homes were delivered in the last quarter of 2022.

The Government has shared and discussed with the relevant stakeholders the new mitigating measures, says the statement, adding that a workshop was held last week with all Local Authority housing teams and NGO partners regarding the supports available to affected persons.

“The Department are ready to assist Local Authorities, the DRHE and our NGO partners in any way necessary,” concludes the statement. 

Concerns raised around Cabinet table

The decision to drop the ban was first green-lighted by the three coalition leaders the night before the Cabinet meeting, which was attended by the Housing Minister. 

The decision came as a surprise to many, including to some around the Cabinet table, as the mood music prior to the meeting was that the ban would be extended. 

Following widespread criticism from the opposition, and even from some TDs within their ranks, ministers have been at pains to state that it was a collective Cabinet decision to lift the ban. 

Speaking after the Cabinet sign off, Varadkar said “anyone who’s been following this debate understands that it’s not a black or white decision. There are pros and cons. We have to weigh that up and Cabinet will make a decision in the morning”. 

He said that it would need to balance both the rights of tenants and landlords.

Further controversy for the Government is expected today as new figures due to be released by the Residential Tenancies Board later today are expected to show that thousands of notices to quit were issued to renters at the end of last year.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien has been asked for comment.

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel