Seanad debates

Friday, 27 March 2020

An Bille um Bearta Éigeandála ar mhaithe le Leas an Phobail (Covid-19) 2020: Céim an Choiste agus na Céimeanna a bheidh Fágtha - Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages

 

12:00 pm

Photo of Alice Mary HigginsAlice Mary Higgins (Independent) | Oireachtas source

I move amendment No. 15:

In page 10, between lines 13 and 14, to insert the following:
“PART 3
AMENDMENT OF HOUSING (MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS) ACT 1992 Prohibition of removal of current temporary dwellings from certain locations

9.Section 10 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992 shall not have effect during the emergency period. ”.

The Minister will be well aware of the explicit concerns that many representatives of Traveller organisations and advocacy groups have raised in respect of the 2,000 Traveller families, many of whom live in inadequate and unsafe accommodation. They were concerned they might not have been protected from eviction under the Bill as initiated. I am aware of a different amendment tabled by Deputy Bríd Smith yesterday that sought to provide that no Traveller could be evicted from current accommodation except for health reasons and only in consultation with the Traveller or Traveller family. The Dáil amendment I refer to, namely, No. 19, was accepted. We had intended to table a similar amendment but have withdrawn it in light of the passing of Deputy Smith's amendment.

Nevertheless, the amendment before us will copper-fasten the fact that section 10 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act will not apply during this emergency period. It seeks to give security to families who may be in fear of eviction. Given the inadequacy of housing provision for Travellers in every local authority area in the country, and the failure over many years to provide it despite funding often being available, they could find themselves in an unsafe position, unable to protect themselves appropriately from Covid-19.

Will the Minister assure us there will be no evictions, subject to the criteria inserted in the Bill yesterday?

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