Thursday, 25 June 2009
Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2009: Report and Final Stages
Ciarán Lynch (Cork South Central, Labour)
I listened to the Minister of State's response and he has missed the point. Legislation has been introduced for the sale of flats and I give credit to him for this. However, for more than ten years parliamentary questions have been put asking when this legislation would be delivered. The implication of all those parliamentary questions was that an inherent injustice was being done which the Minister of State will not recognise. Those people on behalf of whom the parliamentary questions were put are not recognised in the Bill. The reason the measures have been included is because of all those parliamentary questions. The Minister should not come to the House and claim to have introduced measures off the top of his head. He did not do so and the measures were included because of campaigning and as a result of no other means. The Minister of State is disguising things behind incremental purchases and other arrangements. Those who have waited for more than a decade in this State to buy their own home will pay the same price on Monday morning as someone who walks in off the street. This is unfair and the amendment would allow the Minister of State to rectify that situation.
These people did not wish to buy property for an investment such that they could take off to Spain or Portugal to establish a phone company. When investors were being given tax breaks by the Government and the property bubble was being created, these people were trying to pay for the roof over their heads and to turn their house into a home. They are still waiting to do so. These people seek a recognition that they wished to buy their own home and the House prohibited them from so doing. I call on the Minister of State to accept the amendment and acknowledge the purpose of all the parliamentary questions referred to.
The principal reason I am riled up is the absence of the Minister, Deputy Gormley. This time last year he was in Cork, running throughout the city and county when he should have been on Haulbowline Island. At the time he met with tenants in Cork city who had been campaigning to buy their flats for several years. He told them everything would be fine and that they would be looked after. However, here were are on the other side of the local elections and those tenants have been left high and dry. The Minister of State should mark my words: this issue will not conclude this evening upon the conclusion of the debate. It will run on and although it contains many positive aspects, this is the legacy of the legislation introduced by Fianna Fáil and the Green Party. Justice for those seeking the right to buy their homes should have been a core aspect of the legislation but they have now been left abandoned, high and dry.