Monday, 29 March 2021
Residential Tenancies Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages
I thank the Minister of State for outlining the situation as it is. I want to acknowledge my colleagues who, like me, are supportive of the legislation he is putting through. I want to put on record that I am 100% supportive of what he is trying to do. However, I have two issues, and the first issue is as follows. There are eminent lawyers in the Chamber. Can somebody explain to me what is the difference between the Minister of State accepting the amendment to December 2021 and having to come back to the House between now and December, when everything, as we hope, has gone back to normal, to repeal the section, or, if things have not improved, having to come back in July to extend it? What is the difference? It provides certainty to the end of the year for tenants, as far as I am concerned.
I appreciate Senator Ward's input. I have known Senator Ward for a long time and I trust what he says.He acknowledged that there is a section which causes a bit of a problem. Unless I am mistaken, the 5 km element may cause difficulties at some point. We do not know.
I am a layman but I have obtained legal opinions on both sides, one arguing that it does not apply and the other stating that it does. If I were a tenant, I would not be at all happy. I will not impede the passing of the Bill. I will not call any votes but I want to put on record the haste with which the Bill has come through the Seanad and my belief that what is happening demonstrates a lack of respect for this constitutional House. I still cannot understand why the Minister could not accept the provision for a December sunset clause. If everything is going as we hope in July, the Minister could still have come in here to say we did not need the clause any more and it could be cancelled. I would appreciate the Minister of State trying to explain that to me.