Friday, 4 June 2021
Affordable Housing Bill 2021: Committee Stage (Resumed)
Fintan Warfield (Sinn Fein)
I move amendment No. 40:
In page 12, line 42, after “may” to insert the following: “, following consultation with the relevant Oireachtas Committee, local authority managers and local authority elected members,”.
Although we might disagree on ideological grounds during this debate, this is one issue on which all present can agree. I heard Senator Higgins speak many years ago about the need for the Executive and Legislature to work together, collectively and constructively, in developing policy. I have never forgotten those remarks. These amendments do just that.
In terms of section 11, the amendment would ensure that the Minister may, "following consultation with the relevant Oireachtas Committee, local authority managers and local authority elected members", "make regulations providing for the matters to be included in a scheme of priority, including but not limited to the following:". Essentially, it would ensure that the Minister would consult the Oireachtas committee. This is about input, listening and developing good policy constructively. If there are any amendments that we could agree today, it is these two amendments. Amendment No. 67 relates to designated cost rental.
It should be the role of the Parliament and Legislature to work with the Minister in making decisions or in bringing the Minister to a place of decision making. Following pre-legislative scrutiny of the Bill, a minority report was issued by some members. There is a need for ongoing consultation in these Houses and between the Houses and the Department. That makes for good policy. There are members of the committee present who, I am sure, will support the amendment. This makes for good policy and I hope all sides of the House, and particularly the Minister of State, as a Green Party Minister for whom I have a lot of respect, will give the amendment their full consideration.