1 December 2015
By Tom Collins
Sinn Féin General Election Candidate Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has called on Cork City TDs, and in particular the Government TDs, to support the Rent Certainty and Prevention of Homelessness Bill 2015 .
Cllr Ó Laoghaire was involved in the drafting of this Bill, which seeks a firm move towards Rent Certainty, and seeks to put resources in place for those at risk of homelessness.
Councillor Ó Laoghaire said;
“This legislation offers real solutions to our housing crisis, and I am proud to have been involved in the drafting of it. I commend Deputy Dessie Ellis for bringing it to the floor of the Dáil for debate tonight and Wednesday night”.
“Government TDs are always very keen to let us know how they are determined to deal with the housing crisis. Despite this they have voted against proposals from the opposition which would have assisted in dealing with the crisis. Recently, Deputies Ciarán Lynch and Jerry Buttimer voted against a proposal seeking the homelessness crisis to be identified as a National Emergency.”
“Comments from Peter McVerry yesterday, that a year on from the death of Jonathan Corrie the homelessness crisis continues to escalate, should shame the Government. This Government may have inherited the housing crisis from the Fianna Fáil government, but its inaction has caused the crisis to be exacerbated. Some 1,500 of our homeless are children. That is a national disgrace.
“This is an opportunity for the Government TDs to show that they are serious about tackling this crisis.
“These are practical and sensible proposals, which can help in supporting those at risk of homelessness, and which will help bring about real rent certainty.
“We are proposing to amend Section 2 and Section 10 of the Housing Act 1988. Section 2 would provide for the Local Authority to consider and take action to assist those at risk of Homelessness, and would force Local Authorities to act in a preventative way, rather than waiting until they are deemed homeless and in a potentially crisis situation before coming to their aid. That is vitally important, and could provide peace of mind for countless families.
This is also consistent with our consistent call at Budget time for Cork County Council to provide more funding for homelessness services.
“Similarly, the amendment to Section 10 of the Housing Act, provides for funding to Local Authorities and Housing Bodies, to support interventions which would prevent homelessness, and which would open resources to those who have not previously experienced homelessness. Prevention is always better than the cure.”
“Section 4 of this Bill intends to provide Rent Certainty and, so far as I am concerned, the Government has thus far failed to provide that. It provided for a delay in rent increases over a period of time, but the Landlord still has a large degree of control over the level of increases. We would, with this Bill, link rent increases to the rate of inflation. This would mean that landlords could increase rent by limited amounts, or not at all.”
“If Government TDs are serious about the Housing Crisis, they should support this Bill. If there are technical difficulties or amendments the Government believes should be considered, Sinn Féin would be happy to consider them at committee stage. However, there is not a doubt in our minds that the basic principles of the legislation are correct.”