Thursday, 30 July 2020
Residential Tenancies and Valuation Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages
Cian O'Callaghan (Dublin Bay North, Social Democrats)
The Minister has said that he wants the Bill to be targeted. However, there are two groups of tenants and renters who should be included in the Bill but are not. The first group comprises vulnerable tenants at risk of homelessness and of addiction who do not fall under the protections in the Bill and have not been on a Covid-19 related payment or have not been out of work due to Covid-19. Plenty of vulnerable tenants at risk of homelessness do not fall into that category.
This second problem is that a large number of low-paid workers worked during the pandemic and have not been out of work or in receipt of Covid-19-related payments or the WSS. They have kept our supermarkets going, stacked shelves and manned the checkouts. They have worked as care assistants and cleaners or in meat plants. None of these people receive protection under the Bill.
We know from research recently published by the ESRI that low-paid workers in different sectors are most at risk in terms of Covid-19 and are more likely to have underlying health conditions. These groups should have targeted supports, if that is the measure the Minister wants to go for, but they are not provided for in the Bill. All tenants and renters should be protected under this Bill and in any other measures. If the Minister wanted to take a targeted approach, he knows that those groups of renters need protection but are not covered in the Bill.