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Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael block Crucial Focus Ireland Anti-Homeless Measure - Ó Broin

19 December, 2016 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson and Dublin Mid-West TD Eoin Ó Broin has hit out at Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil for ‘blocking a crucial Focus Ireland anti-homelessness measure’ in the Dáil last week. The measure was an amendment proposed by Focus Ireland to the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Bill. It was defeated by a combination of Fine Gael opposition and Fianna Fáil abstention.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“Focus Ireland wrote to all TDs this month urging us to table an amendment to the controversial Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Bill.

“The purpose of the amendment was to make it more difficult for professional landlords to evict tenants when they want to sell the house.

“The amendment would prevent landlords who had brought a property with a buy-to-let mortgage or availed of Section 23 property tax reliefs from evicting tenants when they were selling the house.

“The reason why Focus Ireland drafted and proposed this amendment was because the majority of families they are working with were made homeless when a professional landlord issued a notice to quit on the grounds that they were selling the property.

“As a result, thousands of families and 2500 children will spend Christmas in hotels and B&Bs.

“Over the last two weeks, TDs received hundreds of e-mails from members of the public urging us to support the Focus Ireland initiative.

“As Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson, I co-signed the amendment, which was debated on Friday of last week. For reasons which still aren't clear, Fine Gael voted against the amendment. However, it was the decision of their Fianna Fáil colleagues to abstain that dealt the final blow to the amendment.

“It is deeply disappointing that these two parties decided to block this important amendment to the Housing Bill. If enacted, it would have prevented families from becoming homeless in the coming months. That is why Focus Ireland asked all parties to support it.

“It is the height of hypocrisy for TDs and Ministers to express concern about the homelessness crisis why actively blocking measures in the Dáil that would help those at risk of losing the roof over their heads.” 

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