Seanad debates

Friday, 4 June 2021

Affordable Housing Bill 2021: Committee Stage (Resumed)

 

9:30 am

Photo of Ivana BacikIvana Bacik (Labour)

Essentially, these amendments seek to do the same thing. Ours would extend the 30-year period to 40 years and Senator Warfield's would extend it to 50 years.

I wish to respond to Senator Pauline O'Reilly. She quite rightly pointed out the importance of cost-rental models. It is very welcome to hear quite affirmative and positive responses from Senators Pauline O'Reilly and Cummins on the principle that Senator Warfield's amendment and our amendment seek to achieve, which is to ensure that we think longer term about protection of tenants' rights and security of tenure and, when we develop and devise cost-rental, that we think about people's lifetimes and about ensuring protection of tenure over a longer period. That is what some of our later amendments also seek to do. Amendment No. 66, for example, in my name and Senator Moynihan's, also seeks to extend periods. We have also tabled later amendments to section 30 that seek to remove the profit motive from cost-rental models. Senator Pauline O'Reilly quite rightly pointed out the need to calm the market and said that this is essentially what the provisions seek to do, but we need to think longer term when we talk about calming the market. We also need to be cognisant of the fact that the market is currently being manipulated by the dominance within it of institutional investors such as real estate investment trusts, REITs, and cuckoo funds and that this is creating a major problem. I know we are all trying to resolve it in different ways but we need to be really ambitious and radical in trying to address that dominance and trying to re-skew and readjust housing and how we see it in order that the right to a home is seen as a right for all rather than always talking about the market, market value and so on. This radical rethink is what is required. What we are seeking to do with these amendments is to insert some of that radicalism into the Bill.

Many of the Bill's provisions we very much welcome. Again, however, we are just trying to be constructive and engage with the Minister of State in seeking to think longer term, particularly when we talk about the protection of tenants' rights.

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