Thursday, 30 July 2020
Residential Tenancies and Valuation Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages
Cian O'Callaghan (Dublin Bay North, Social Democrats)
I move amendment No. 8:
In page 5, to delete lines 31 to 39, and in page 6, to delete lines 1 to 21 and substitute the following:
"(5) In this section, "relevant person" means any tenant.".
What the Social Democrats' amendment seeks to do is to ensure that the limited provisions of this Bill apply to all tenants. I do not think a single Deputy in this House would disagree with the amendment and would not want to see protections afforded to front-line workers, who have been running our essential services throughout the pandemic, many of whom are in low-paid jobs as carers, cleaners and have been keeping our supermarkets open, at the tills and stacking the shelves. I do not think a single Deputy in this House would not support the limited protections of this Bill applying to them as well. The only way that can happen is for the amendment to be agreed in order that the limited protections in the Bill will apply to all tenants. If the amendment is accepted, it will also help vulnerable tenants who are at risk of eviction into homelessness, who are not covered by the Bill because although they may well be on low income or on low pay, they are not in receipt of a Covid-19 payment, as they have not been out of work due to Covid-19. Such tenants do not receive protections under this Bill and it is vital that this amendment be passed and they are covered.
According to ESRI research, the most vulnerable people in terms of health risks from Covid-19 are people working in lower paid jobs, many of whom are renting privately and are not getting protection under this Bill. I strongly urge every Deputy and party in this House to back the amendment to ensure that front-line workers get the protection and respect they deserve. The entire country feels gratitude to them for keeping our essential services open throughout the pandemic. Backing the amendment will also mean that fewer people get evicted into homelessness.