Dáil debates

Tuesday, 9 July 2024

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

 

6:55 pm

Photo of Michael CollinsMichael Collins (Cork South West, Independent)

Student accommodation is a difficult situation for people in my constituency in Cork who are trying to go to college, or people anywhere. Many people come to my office to see if we can source accommodation for them. It is desperate after spending so many years going through college that they cannot find accommodation. Some people are couch surfing and sleeping in cars. It is a terrible situation for young people to end up in after all their years of education and their parents paying towards their education. They work during the summer to fund their education. The one thing they want is accommodation. We do not seem to be able to provide that. It will follow them throughout their lives.

In many cases it means that people just think they want to get out of this country because they cannot cope with the pressure of not being able to have a home, not being able to buy a home or not being able to build a home. It is terrible that this is being inflicted on people. I have a constituent in west Cork who returned to Ireland some time back. He sought planning permission. Unfortunately for him, his wife and their two children, he did not get it. I met his mother during the local election campaign and she told me that when he did not get it, he jumped on a plane and said "To hell with this country; it has gone anyway". He has gone back to Canada. That is terrible. The man in question was able to give full employment locally, but he could not get planning on his own bit of ground down in west Cork. It is embarrassing. The mother said that she did not think she would vote. Even though I believe in democracy and the right to vote it was very hard to blame her when she put her case. I saw where things could have been put right but we did not know it in time. The problem is that we could well understand why a person would be that situation.

There is a crisis in this country. Some Minister must stand up and accept that Uisce Éireann has been dysfunctional from start to finish. It is unable to do whatever it is meant to do, which is simply to supply water to homes and take sewage from them. Consider Shannonvale in Clonakilty. I was at a meeting last Thursday night. I also attended a meeting there 12 months previously. I have had several meetings, and I met with the committee. They have been waiting for 27 years. It is not one year or seven years; the people there have been waiting for 27 years for an upgrade to their sewerage system. There is raw sewage in a public play park that was meant to be for children. Uisce Éireann has it cordoned off. The council has blamed Irish Water and Irish Water has blamed the council. The Minister, Deputy Darragh O'Brien, has come down. He did usual queen mother thing by running around and waving, blaming both of them and then heading up town. He came back to Dublin and nothing happened. We have had non-delivery for 20 years. Councillor Daniel Sexton and I attended the meeting last Thursday night. People are exasperated. Raw sewage is seeping down into River Argideen, which is a main water source for Clonakilty and Timoleague. It is seeping down into the drinking water pipes in Clonakilty. It is an astonishing situation.

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