Thursday, 13 December 2018
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
That is a balance. Undoubtedly, our priority has been to protect tenants at a time when rental prices have been increasing too rapidly. However, we have to be cognisant of the fact that we have a very unusual rental market in Ireland in which the vast majority of landlords only own one property and are effectively not professional landlords. That is why we need a strong RTB and it is why we have legislated to give it more powers. We will legislate to give it more powers again to make sure that landlords are not abusing the lack of supply in terms of price gouging. We will continue to do that and will listen to other political parties in this House that have constructive proposals in that regard, as we have done to date. Ultimately, the pressures on the housing market generally and on the rental market in particular are as a result of a lack of supply which we are addressing as part of a five-year strategy which we are only halfway through.
In respect of sectoral wage agreements, as the Deputy knows, we need to ensure that the Government commits to wage increases, particularly across the public sector, in line with what we can afford and in line with agreements that have been made. To accelerate that or to raise expectations without having the Estimates to deliver it in terms of budgets would be highly irresponsible. That is why a really important element of the confidence and supply agreement, for example, relates to wage agreements and ensuring we can follow through on them in a way that is affordable to the State but is also as generous as possible to the working public.