"Too many people" have been unable to keep up with their rent or mortgage payments due to the societal effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Government must take action on this issue.
This is the view of Labour Galway City West councillor, Niall McNelis, who said he is "deeply concerned" at the long-term impact of this situation. “Through no fault of their own, thousands of people lost their incomes, and this has impacted their ability to keep up with their housing payments," he said.
In the Dáil recently, the Labour Party tabled a motion for debate calling for a State scheme to address rent-related debt, and for the banks to stop charging penalties and surcharges on mortgage arrears built up during the pandemic.
Labour wants to see the current moratorium on rent increases and evictions extended until there is a "sufficient supply of new housing". The party also wants to see a specific protection in law to protect people threatened with eviction due to arrears built up during the pandemic.
“There is a new Minister and we must now see new thinking on the housing crisis," said Cllr McNelis. “There has been a fall in the level of homelessness in recent months due to the emergency moratorium on evictions, and the new Government must learn lessons from this. For years we called for the law on evictions to be changed as it is the leading cause of homelessness.