Dáil debates

Tuesday, 9 July 2024

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

 

6:55 pm

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent)

The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2024 aims to amend the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, specifically in relation to SSA tenancy licences. The Bill stipulates that student accommodation will adhere to the traditional September to May academic year, up to 41 weeks, unless a student requests a longer tenancy. It is all about "mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí". We must do that, but many obstacles are put in front of young people. In that vein, I welcome Joey Hawkins to the Gallery. He is a young student from the meánscoil in Clonmel, County Tipperary. All students have be to nurtured and supported. Thankfully, my family has finished going through college. Our last girl finished this last academic year, just a month or six weeks ago. It is a difficult challenge. As with anything, you have to live it to understand it. There is fear every year from the time they come out of college, all summer and into September and the scramble for places. The exploitation of young people is not fair. Chuaigh mo chailíní chun na Gaillimhe, go Baile Átha Cliath, go Corcaigh agus go Luimneach. We have experience of four different university cities. There are some very good student accommodation providers; we can never knock or stop private developments because without them, we would not have many facilities. I am a big supporter of building and public private partnerships. When a contract goes out to private builders and whatever is built is rented back to the State, projects are done quickly. If there are good officials overseeing that, there will be good-quality buildings. We have failed to deliver in the public system. There were wonderful visionaries like Seán Lemass. We got rural electrification. There were many good people involved. Up to the nineties and even the noughties, we built buildings but then everything stopped.

As mentioned by Deputy Canney and the Sinn Féin leader, the price of building in Dublin is not the same as in the country. The price of land, moving waste and everything in Dublin is much higher. The price of labour is higher as well because the cost of living is higher. It is easier in the country, but towns and villages do not have the infrastructure such as sewerage or water schemes. In a town like Clonmel, which has a new university campus, there is no water supply. It used to be the biggest inland town - Athlone might beat it now. We have an intermittent supply of water. Uisce Éireann does not seem to give a toss. Water can be off daily or weekly. It was off all last summer, which was one of the wettest on record. We were without water in our taps every week and at many weekends. The supply is so unsure. We had a good source from the mountains, beyond Clonmel golf club, in Poulnagunogue. It is a gravity supply. Irish Water wants to dismantle it. It has been there for probably 300 years. It wants to dismantle it and pump the water back up the hill to meet it. It beggars belief that engineers would see this - we have to ensure there is infrastructure and policies for private sector people to build, to ensure students and their parents do not have to worry.

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