Sinn Féin TD for Cork South-Central Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, and Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice Martin Kenny TD have today welcomed the Government’s publishing of the Private Security Services (Amendment) Bill 2021.
This Government Bill comes after substantial pressure from Sinn Féin for a number of years now, including through the recent passing of Teachta Ó Laoghaire and Teachta Kenny’s legislation to ensure that those involved in enforcing evictions are properly regulated.
Teachta Ó Laoghaire, who introduced the initial legislation in 2019, said:
“I first identified the loophole that allowed those enforcing court-ordered repossessions and evictions to go unregulated in December 2018.
“Since then, Sinn Féin have continued to put pressure on the Government to ensure that banks weren’t able to hire unregulated private security firms to do whatever they want, with no accountability or recourse for complaint.
“It was clear that there was widespread support for this legislation. Our Bill, which regulated those who sought to act violently during an eviction, was supported across the Dáil when it was debated in November.
“The time had long past for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to recognise the severity of the situation, and to step up to protect those facing eviction.
“Finally, after years of promises, I am glad that today the Government have listened to Sinn Féin and have introduced legislation to protect vulnerable people who find themselves in the most distressing circumstances, and to properly regulate those who are enforcing court-ordered evictions and repossessions.
“However, now that this has been done, we need to progress this matter quickly and without any delay.
“Wrongful evictions unfortunately are possible as the housing crisis escalates under this government. I hope that this legislation will be enacted swiftly, and I look forward to engaging with Minister McEntee on this.
“I am also concerned that as the ban on evictions has been lifted with the removal of the 5km restriction, tenants have been left vulnerable once more. It is not enough to just regulate this area – we also need to stop unfair evictions.
“The government need to urgently move now to prevent eviction into homelessness, and we need radical tenancy law to ensure tenants can have contracts of indefinite duration.
“Today’s announcement is a positive step forward, but legislation is also urgently needed to protect tenants from unfair evictions in the first place.”