The Dáil returned this week following the Easter break. On Tuesday, I continued my meetings with the Office of Parliamentary Legal Advisers (OPLA) as we work on progressing a Private Members’ Bill. On Wednesday morning, I attended a briefing in Buswells by the Housing Alliance, which is a collaboration of six of the biggest Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) in Ireland comprising Clúid Housing, Circle Voluntary Housing Association, Co-operative Housing Ireland, Oaklee Housing, Respond and Tuath Housing. The Alliance is calling for more social and affordable homes and for AHB’s to be permitted to provide affordable mortgages for young families.
Later on Wednesday, I attended the Budgetary Oversight Committee meeting and then, that night, I debated the amendments I submitted to the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 2018. I spoke briefly in support of some Opposition Deputies amendments and they in turn supported my amendments also. I called a vote on Amendment 10 which would have required the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) to verify when renovations were said to have taken place, therefore excluding the property from Rent Pressure Zone limits. Of course, Fianna Fáil voted with the Government against this amendment and so it did not pass. It is very frustrating to listen to Fianna Fáil TDs and candidates speak about the housing crisis but then vote against such amendments intended to improve regulation for the rental market.
On Thursday, I spoke on the National Broadband Plan and asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment about examples of work in other countries completed by the successful (and only) bidder, the Granahan McCourt Consortium. On Thursday, we also learnt that Mondelez is proposing cutting 70 jobs at Cadbury Coolock. I was very shocked and disappointed at this news and certainly hope that any redundancies will only be voluntary.
This week, my office is also working on submitting an observation on the Build-To-Rent Scheme at Clare Village, ClareHall, Malahide Road. The deadline for observations is Thursday, the 16th of May*.
*Please note this was changed from Friday the 17th following further confirmation.