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Fianna Fáil capitulate to Fine Gael and punish struggling renters – Ó Broin

15 December, 2016 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has commented on the latest backroom deal reached by the government and Fianna Fáil.

The Dublin TD said:

“Fianna Fáil has completely capitulated to Fine Gael and has agreed to punish struggling renters with a 12.5% rent increase over the next three years. Furthermore, this deal leaves renters across the rest of the state at the mercy of the rental market.

“After all Fianna Fáil’s embarrassing amateur dramatics over the past 24 hours, they have buckled and agreed to slapping renters in Dublin and Cork with a 4% rent increase per year over the next three years.

“After delaying the Dáil debate on this important legislation, the party has secured nothing additional for renters in two days of cynical brinkmanship. This is highlighted by the fact the party’s Housing spokesperson Deputy Barry Cowen is too embarrassed to be in the chamber this evening for the debate, for what is effectively a humiliating slap down by Minister Coveney.

“Capitulating to the Government was not the only option available to them. They could have instead voted for a Sinn Féin rent certainty proposal within the Bill which would have linked rent increases and decreases to an index such as the CPI. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael now look set to reject real rent certainty measures for the fifth time this Dáil term. 

“At the heart of this debate about ‘rent pressure zones’, which seems to have been forgotten by Fine Gael and their partners in government Fianna Fáil, are struggling renters. Renters simply cannot afford a guaranteed 4% hike in rents. They are already pinned to the collar and renters outside of Dublin and Cork city will be left at the mercy of the rental market, obtaining no benefit from these lacklustre measures.  I am therefore deeply disappointed but not surprised that despite all their rhetoric Fianna Fáil will not be putting their money where their mouth is and supporting the Sinn Féin rent certainty amendment this evening. 

“Sinn Féin will not be supporting these half-hearted rental market measures that in addition to offering no rent certainty, completely disregards the issue of security of tenure and the plight of families facing eviction in buy-to let properties. The 700,000-plus renters in this state deserve better from their government and elected representatives. Sinn Féin will continue to push for real rent certainty to be introduced in tandem with security of tenure measures that will really benefit renters and not punish them.

“Furthermore, Sinn Féin will not be supporting other elements within the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Bill this evening including the proposal to fast track housing applications, of 100 units or more, to An Bord Pleanála. This effectively allows the Minister to bypass local authorities and represents a profound change to our planning system. During second stage debate on the Bill, I outlined a more transparent way in which large planning applications could be more rapidly processed.

“I will also be pushing an amendment to the Bill this evening that deals with the refusal of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to extend the so-called Tyrrelstown amendment to landlords with a single property. The provision in Bill as it stands as amended in the Seanad only covers 5.9% of landlords. The vast majority of families at risk of homelessness because their landlords are selling their properties will get no extra protection from the measure.” 

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