Thursday, 16 April 2015
Order of Business
I agree with Senator Sean D. Barrett and, like all of us here, extend our sympathy to the Buckley family in Cork on the sad news that the remains found in Glasgow are most likely those of Karen Buckley. I was somewhat surprised to hear that family and friends are engaging in a fund-raising campaign to fund the family.At a time like this, money should not be an issue. I would like the Leader to raise with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade whether it is in a position to provide that type of funding to the family. If it is not, I advocate a special fund that should be available within the Department of Foreign Affairs for deeply upsetting and traumatic cases such as this, in which money is the last thing that people should be thinking about.
I congratulate "The Consumer Show", a programme presented by Keelin Shanley, which last night brought to public attention the issue of people who live in rented accommodation who are the victims of abusive activity by receivers taking rent or possession of properties. We know there are approximately 40,000 buy-to-let properties in significant mortgage arrears at the moment, and some of the case studies last night showed how one tenant arrived home to find the locks changed, while another tenant had her two-year lease completely disregarded and was given seven days to get out of her home the week before Christmas. It is outrageous behaviour. There has been a tendency to think that just because people live in rented homes, they are not as important as the homes of homeowners. That is not the case. One in five families in the country today live in rented homes.
I ask the Leader that we discuss this issue as part of the debate we have consistently called for with the Minister for Finance on the issue of repossessions. Legislation is urgently required to protect tenants who find themselves in this position. I know Senator Barrett has raised the matter on a number of occasions. Receivers are behaving unscrupulously, and the activity must be stopped.