Monday, 29 March 2021
Residential Tenancies Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages
On the proposal to extend the emergency provisions until October or December, both the Minister of State and the Minister are on record, in the Dáil and in this House last week, regarding the openness of the Department to consider a further extension, after July, should we find ourselves in circumstances that require it. When the Minister for Health was in the Chamber earlier, he indicated that 80% of the adult population would have received at least one dose of vaccine by mid-June. It is my sincere hope that we will not be in a position where we have to extend the provisions beyond July because of ongoing restrictions.
I note Senator Craughwell's criticisms of the curtailed nature of the legislative process. While I appreciate his genuineness in this regard, perhaps he is not familiar with what officials told us at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage about the urgent need to get this legislation through the Houses and the necessity of waiving pre-legislative scrutiny to prevent protections from lapsing on 12 April for the large number of people who are currently covered by them. This was a gamble that I, as a legislator, was not willing to take. That is why the Oireachtas committee made the decision to waive pre-legislative scrutiny.I compliment the Minister of State and his officials on the speed with which this legislation was brought before the Houses. Of course, we would all love more time to debate this very important legislation and the Oireachtas joint committee would have liked the opportunity to engage in pre-legislative scrutiny but, given the urgent pressures on time, it was necessary to waive this in order to speed up the process and get this Bill through.