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Friday 8 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Alamy Stock Photo Francis Noel Duffy pictured with his wife, the Green Party's deputy leader Catherine Martin.

Anger within Greens over housing spokesman's claim reinstating eviction ban 'akin to communism'

According to Green Party sources there is anger, annoyance and shock over Duffy’s comments.

LAST UPDATE | Sep 4th 2023, 4:00 PM

THERE HAS BEEN backlash from some within the Green Party and online to comments made by the party’s housing spokesperson Noel Francis Duffy who stated that reinstating the eviction ban would be akin to “a communist state”.

In the latest installment of The Journal’s Policy Matters series, Duffy said that he is pleased with what the Greens have been able to achieve in housing so far.

It was put to him that reinstating the eviction ban, and keeping people in the accommodation they already have, would help reduce the growing homeless figures. 

He responded: “Well then it turns into a communist state, that’s what you are talking about. So we purchase everybody’s property, is it?”

The Journal presented him with the recent example of the tenants in Swords who are being evicted from their apartments by a company owned by a real estate group with €6bn in assets. 

Some of these tenants have resisted eviction and it was put to Duffy that they would not be in this position if the eviction ban was still in place. 

“Yeah. I think people in this country, as far as I know, have been evicted for generations. I know that’s a bit of a cliche. So are you saying if people don’t pay their rent, and all that kind of stuff, they should stay?,” Duffy said. 

His argument centred around the rights of landlords to evict someone if they were not paying their rent or if the landlord wanted to move a family member into the property. The Journal put it to him that these exemptions were in place under the eviction ban. 

He responded: “Well at the moment, there are provisions in place where you [a tenant] can buy the house. If you want to buy it there are mortgages available.”

Since the interview was published today, politicians both within the Green Party and outside the party have been reacting to some of Duffy’s comments. 


Community Action Tenants Union (CATU) Fingal, who are representing the tenants in Swords, has also released a statement, calling on Fingal Green Party TD Joe O’Brien to condemn the comments of his party colleague. 

In a statement the group says that multiple families with children facing eviction in Swords have paid their rent in full and have done nothing wrong.

“Under the law currently, a landlord is legally entitled to end a pre-2022 tenancy within a six-year cycle for any reason, once the legally required notice of 224 days is given. You would have thought that the Green Party’s housing spokesperson would know this,” said the group.

According to Green Party sources there is anger, annoyance and shock over Duffy’s comments in the interview. 

One source called the comments made by Duffy as “disappointing” stating that if a party spokesperson is giving an interview for a slot called Policy Matters, then they should really understand what party policy is. 

Green Party Dublin Central TD Neasa Hourigan said on Twitter that the immediate reinstatement of the eviction ban is ratified Green Party policy.

She said this was voted on by the membership policy council early this year.

Speaking to The Journal, Hourigan said any party’s representative should reflect the policy of the party.

“That’s really important. Our policy is that an eviction ban is required and it’s required as an immediate action. The policy is voted in by the members – we have a very egalitarian way of creating policy, we have Policy Council and the members vote on our policies and that policy was already ratified this year alone.

“The members support an eviction ban, that is the ratified policy of the party and it’s important that we communicate that clearly. It’s also, for example, ratified policy of the party, that eviction for sale should not be allowed. So I think the frustration sometimes of members is that while of course being in government is difficult as a minority party, the least we can do is communicate clearly what our policies are,” she said. 

She went on to state that work needs to be done as property rights over the rights of people to have a home has been prioritised for decades in this country.

Hourigan said there is a need to focus on tenants’ rights in a way that other European countries do.

“I am in a constituency where there are children who are homeless and my kids go to school with children that are homeless. That takes precedence for me over somebody’s property rights. And what we’re looking at here is a rebalancing of rights, a rebalancing of priorities. Are property rights more important than a child’s ability to stay in their home or have a home at all? No,” she said, adding:

So I think that’s the frustration, that Green Party policy actually does reflect that. But we need our representatives to communicate that.

Other politicians such as People Before Profit’s Paul Murphy and Social Democrat’s housing spokesperson Cian O’Callaghan has also hit out against the comments, with O’Callaghan highlighting the difference between Duffy’s comments and the Green Party’s election manifesto. 

A Green Party government spokesperson told The Journal in a statement that the removal of the eviction moratorium was “one of the most difficult decisions the Government had to make as it is acutely aware of the difficult situation many renters are in”.

The statement went on to say:


“Ultimately, the Government decided not to extend the moratorium as it would have increased the number of landlords leaving the market, thereby increasing homelessness rather than decreasing it.

“However, the Green Party worked tirelessly to ensure a number of protections were put in place to help keep renters at risk of eviction in their homes. These included funding councils to purchase the homes of renters availing of housing supports such as HAP and making the homes available to them as part of an expanded “tenant-in-situ” scheme.

“For those not in receipt of housing supports but at risk of homelessness, the council and Housing Agency can now purchase their home and rent it to them on a “cost rental” or not-for-profit basis. Work is also ongoing to give tenants “first refusal” on purchasing their home, with the help of a State-backed shared equity scheme which will reduce the up-front cost of purchase by up to 30%.”

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