Thursday, 30 July 2020
Residential Tenancies and Valuation Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages
Mick Barry (Cork North Central, Solidarity)
My amendment, No. 10, will add to the category of relevant persons people aged over 65, all those who have lost income and those with underlying medical conditions. There is much confusion in society, created in large measure by people involved in the Government's spin machine. They were on the FM radio stations at the start of the week saying what the Bill would do, which gave the impression that it contains far wider protections than is really the case. Many people have the impression that if someone is receiving the pandemic unemployment payment or the temporary wage subsidy scheme, he or she cannot be evicted between now and the new year, whereas those protections will apply only where the landlord seeks to evict on grounds of rent arrears. They will not apply in the case of the sale of the property, renovation, a relative of the landlord moving in and so on.
Amendment No. 10, a minor amendment that is not our key point, will provide that even the narrow grounds the Government proposes on which to offer protections should be extended, beyond people who are on the pandemic unemployment payment or the temporary wage subsidy scheme, to include those over the age of 65, which is a very basic point. Does the Minister seriously suggest that people over the age of 65 should be evicted in the middle of a pandemic? For those who have lost their incomes, perhaps the Minister will say they are protected but they are protected only in a very narrow sense. Not all those who have lost their incomes will be protected, although they should be. It will also be extended to those with underlying medical conditions. That is a very reasonable, basic point. Is the Minister seriously saying the door should be open to evicting people with underlying medical conditions in the midst of a pandemic? How can that position be defended?
I hope the Government will support amendment No. 10. If it is not prepared to do so, people should take note.