Tuesday, 14 December 2021
Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (Extension of Notice Periods) Bill 2021: Second Stage [Private Members]
I commend my party colleague, Deputy Ó Broin, on bringing forward this Bill, and the Simon Community on the work it has done on it. It is vital that we start tackling homelessness. It is soul-destroying for the people who are stuck in homelessness, their families and in particular, the children, who do not know where they are going to spend Christmas and where they will be in the new year. I wish to take a moment, before the Christmas break, to thank all those who work with the homeless. I thank the organisations in Cork, such as the Simon Community, Depaul, the Peter McVerry Trust, Focus Ireland and many more. I thank, in particular, Caitríona Twomey of Cork Penny Dinners. The work they do is unbelievable. I thank the people who donate to the organisations silently and quietly to support them.
However, it should not be up to volunteers and charities to look after the homeless. This Bill will send a clear message if the Government goes the whole way and does not support it, but implements it. We need to recognise all the volunteers for the tireless work they will do at Christmas. These people will deliver tents, sleeping bags, dinners and snacks to people at all hours of the day and night. They are not in it for the recognition or the thanks; they are in it because they believe that is the kind of country and State we should live in. They recognise that no one in this State should go to sleep on Christmas eve without with a roof over their head, but unfortunately, they will. We owe these groups and volunteers a huge debt. For many, a tough Christmas will be made slightly easier because of the work of these volunteers and groups. I hope the Minister and the Government will do the right thing.