Seanad debates

Friday, 4 June 2021

9:30 am

Photo of Fintan WarfieldFintan Warfield (Sinn Fein)

I welcome every opportunity to talk about housing. This Fianna Fáil motion follows Sinn Féin's motion, which highlighted the dysfunction of the private rental market. Since then, renters face the prospect of an 8% increase.The Taoiseach gave a commitment in the Dáil on Wednesday to prevent that increase. However, let us be honest, we need to ban rent increases for three years because renters are being fleeced. Sinn Féin has long supported Home for Good and I commend its campaign. This Fianna Fáil motion calls for a right to housing to be inserted in the Constitution, but it is two years since Fianna Fáil voted against a referendum Bill on the right to housing in the Dáil.

Why are Fianna Fáil so late to the table? Why did it vote against that Bill in 2019, which would have triggered a referendum? Can we expect Fianna Fáil to finally come round to the idea of a three-year rent freeze or to Sinn Féin's proposal to put one month's rent back in the pocket of every renter in this State through a refundable tax credit? We, and the people, cannot afford the time it takes for Fianna Fáil to slowly come round. We need Fianna Fáil to show up, so why not do this? If the motion is to have any impact, let us set a date for a referendum on the right to housing and give the public a vote on whether to insert the right to appropriate and affordable housing and an obligation to eliminate homelessness, in the Constitution. Let us set the date and have the referendum.

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