March 16, 2021
Government ramming controversial renters Bill through the Dáil – Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin has criticised government TDs and Senators for ramming a controversial renters Bill through the Dáil.

The comments were made following an emergency sitting of the Housing Committee, which voted by seven votes to six to support Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien’s last minute request to waive pre-legislative scrutiny of a new Residential Tenancies Bill.

Teachta Ó Broin said:

“At an emergency meeting of the Oireachtas Housing Committee this afternoon, members were asked to vote to waive pre-legislative scrutiny on a Residential Tenancies Bill that has not been published or circulated to the members yet. Unfortunately, the Committee voted seven-six in favour of waiving pre-legislative scrutiny.

“The new legislation will extend protections to a small proportion of renters in arrears due to Covid-19 through to July. However, it will strip renters in arrears not affected by Covid-19 of all protections.

“Once again, the Minister for Housing has put the Committee in an impossible situation.

“Section one of the Bill affords protections to approximately 700 renters affected by Covid-19 income loss, but section 2 strips all other renters in arrears of protections.

“Furthermore, the Minister has provided no rationale for extending the limited protections until July this year. The ban on evictions and the issuing of notices to quit should be extended to all renters until at least the end of 2021.

“It is deeply disappointing that the compromise Sinn Féin put on the table was not entertained by the government TDs today.

“We proposed to waive pre legislative scrutiny for section 1 of the Bill if the Minister withdrew section 2 of the Bill to return to once it has been adequately scrutinised.

“It appears that the elected representatives from Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party do not understand the consequences of this Bill.

“By creating a hierarchy of renters, the Bill will place a large group of tenants at risk of eviction.

“The responsibility ultimately lies with Darragh O’Brien. All of the renter bills he has brought in since the original Covid-19 renter protections were introduced during the first lockdown last year have sought to water down and weaken these protections.”

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