Dáil debates

Tuesday, 9 July 2024

Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2024: Second Stage

 

6:15 pm

Photo of Ruairi Ó MurchúRuairi Ó Murchú (Louth, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

We very much welcome this Bill. This issue was put on the agenda because of the very significant amount of work done by Sinn Féin and Deputy Mairéad Farrell. It has been brought up for a considerable amount of time. It was first a matter of identifying the number of these places owned by vulture funds and the average rents charged. There was then the question of 51-week leases, which are a major imposition on students. We all understand how modularisation works as regards students and that they would have had no need for the 51 weeks. We are now seeing an element of fairness.

We spoke about Deputy Farrell's legislation previously. It was not opposed. The idea was to ensure a greater level of support, protection and tenure for those who are in digs accommodation. Many of us have spent time in digs accommodation, albeit at a very different time and at a very different price. We all know the horror stories. We have all heard multiple examples. As I have told the Minister of State before, we need that sort of action to be taken at speed.

This is an outworking of the absolute disaster and dysfunction of the housing crisis. I do not know how many times I have brought up Cois Farraige in Blackrock in Dundalk when speaking about affordable housing over the last while. I had an interaction with the Taoiseach on the matter and I believe he is bringing it to the Minister, Deputy Darragh O'Brien. I would also like to put it on the agenda here. I do not believe €305,000 is affordable for a considerable number of people but the shocking thing is that, while there were meant to be ten units, of the 26 people who initially applied and the many more who applied later, only five reached the criteria. That tells you there is an issue. That has to be investigated.

There is also an issue in respect of the tenant in situ scheme. We have all seen it saving people from homelessness but we understand that some of the moneys that were provided to local authorities for this purpose have been used up and that people must now deal directly with the Department. I am told that this is somewhat more difficult. We need to look at those particular issues.

In the little time I have left, I will mention something that came to me and that I brought up with the Taoiseach earlier. It is from a constituent. She says it is outrageous that it is €5,000 a month for a four-bedroom house in Dundalk. She asks what our TDs and other politicians are doing to stop this.

She asks how the younger generation will be able to stay in Ireland and have a home, whether buying or renting. She speaks about the need for a housing cap and the need for representatives across the board to do this. This situation is unacceptable. We know our proposals on this. We need to see action.

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