Thursday, 30 July 2020
Residential Tenancies and Valuation Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages
Eoin Ó Broin (Dublin Mid West, Sinn Fein)
I am happy to support amendment No. 4, which is a much clearer and stronger amendment than mine. I fully concur with Opposition colleagues. Based on his comments so far, one would assume the Minister will not accept amendment No. 4. I ask him to look at the wording of this section of the Bill, which refers to a criminal offence where somebody provides information that is false or misleading. The dictionary definition of "false" suggests that there is intent, that somebody intentionally falsifies something. However, "misleading" is a much vaguer term. Someone could mislead unintentionally or accidentally without full knowledge. Therefore, at a minimum I ask the Minister to consider my amendment No. 5, which would require at the base level the threshold of proof being that somebody did this intentionally. I listened carefully to Deputy Barry and I agree with his sentiments. That is why I am happier to support amendment No. 4. The word "misleading" is very vague and open. Somebody without any intention whatsoever could provide information which is argued to be misleading and therefore could be criminalised.