Rent and Mortgage Arrears: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members]

The following motion was moved by Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin on Wednesday, 8 July 2020:
That Dáil Éireann:
recognises:
— the exceptional circumstances of Covid-19;
— the necessity of shutting down non-essential economic activity to prevent the spread of viral infection and to save thousands of lives;
— the loss of income suffered by many households, through no fault of their own, notwithstanding extraordinary measures taken to offset these;
— that many households will have been unable to keep up with rent or mortgage payments during the period of lockdown;
— that accumulated debt from rent or mortgage payments will suddenly crystallise for many households once the economy reopens and current exceptional protections are removed; and
— that the ban on rent increases and evictions during the pandemic has led to a decrease in the number of people presenting as homeless; and
calls on the Government to:
— ensure that no one becomes homeless or suffers penalty charges due to an inability to meet rent or mortgage payments during the lockdown period;
— introduce an extended moratorium on rent increases and evictions until there is sufficient supply of new housing;
— ensure there is a specific provision in law to protect people threatened with eviction due to rent or mortgage arrears accrued during the pandemic;
— establish a State scheme to substantially reduce rent-related debt that has accrued through no fault of households who were unable to pursue their livelihoods during the period of lockdown;
— stop the banks from charging penalties or surcharges on mortgage arrears accrued during the pandemic; and
— clearly state what other actions the Government will take to alleviate the situation of housing-related debt caused by the Covid-19 lockdown on the economy.
Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:
To delete all words after "Dáil Éireann" and substitute the following:
"recognises that the Programme for Government – Our Shared Future acknowledges that Covid-19 has presented the global community with a terrible set of challenges to add to the ongoing climate and biodiversity emergency;
acknowledges the extensive range of measures included in the Programme for Government – Our Shared Future, building on the initiatives already undertaken and in progress, which will be brought forward to support individuals and families in dealing with the financial implications of Covid-19 and to access affordable housing and, in particular, notes that:
- the Government has confirmed its overarching housing policy principle that everybody should have access to good-quality housing to purchase or rent at an affordable price, built to a high standard, and located close to essential services, offering a high quality of life; and
- the focus in recovery will be to get people back to work as quickly as possible. The Government’s aim is to create 200,000 new jobs by 2025 as well as helping people currently unemployed due to Covid-19 get back to work;
notes that the Programme for Government – Our Shared Future acknowledges that the Covid-19 emergency has illustrated the resilience and responsiveness of our system. Hundreds of thousands of people have had their incomes largely protected during the restrictions and thousands will continue to rely on the State for months to come. As this Government moves forward with a new social contract with citizens, the Government will ensure a balanced progressive approach, which provides a safety net to those most severely impacted by Covid-19 while increasing incentives and access to reskilling to enable people to get back working;
further recognises the role that income supports, such as the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, and the flexibility provided through Rent Supplement, have played and continue to play in supporting our citizens during the Covid-19 pandemic; and
further notes the Government's intention to:
- extend the moratorium on the termination of tenancies, in line with public health advice, if the requirements of section 4 of the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020 are met;
- improve the supply and affordability of rental accommodation and the security of tenure for renters; and
- introduce the necessary reforms to our personal insolvency legislation and ensure that sufficient supports are in place for mortgage holders with repayment difficulties and to assess the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears, including the available suite of alternative repayment arrangements, and ensure it has full legal effect."
- (Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government)

I must now deal with a postponed division relating to the motion regarding rent and mortgage arrears. On Wednesday, 8 July 2020, on the question that the amendment to the motion be agreed to, a division was claimed and in accordance with Standing Order 80(2), that division must be taken now.

Amendment put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 82; Níl, 61; Staon, 0.

  • Berry, Cathal.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Browne, James.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Carroll MacNeill, Jennifer.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Costello, Patrick.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Crowe, Cathal.
  • Devlin, Cormac.
  • Dillon, Alan.
  • Donnelly, Stephen.
  • Duffy, Francis Noel.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Feighan, Frankie.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Flaherty, Joe.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Foley, Norma.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Higgins, Emer.
  • Hourigan, Neasa.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Leddin, Brian.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • Martin, Catherine.
  • Matthews, Steven.
  • McAuliffe, Paul.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McEntee, Helen.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Murnane O'Connor, Jennifer.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Murphy, Verona.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Noonan, Malcolm.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Brien, Joe.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Connor, James.
  • O'Donnell, Kieran.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • O'Gorman, Roderic.
  • O'Sullivan, Christopher.
  • O'Sullivan, Pádraig.
  • Ó Cathasaigh, Marc.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Richmond, Neale.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Shanahan, Matt.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smyth, Niamh.
  • Smyth, Ossian.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Troy, Robert.
  • Varadkar, Leo.

Níl

  • Andrews, Chris.
  • Barry, Mick.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Brady, John.
  • Browne, Martin.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Cairns, Holly.
  • Carthy, Matt.
  • Clarke, Sorca.
  • Collins, Joan.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Conway-Walsh, Rose.
  • Cronin, Réada.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Daly, Pa.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Paul.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Farrell, Mairéad.
  • Fitzmaurice, Michael.
  • Funchion, Kathleen.
  • Gannon, Gary.
  • Gould, Thomas.
  • Guirke, Johnny.
  • Harkin, Marian.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kelly, Alan.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Kerrane, Claire.
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McNamara, Michael.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • Mythen, Johnny.
  • Nolan, Carol.
  • O'Callaghan, Cian.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Rourke, Darren.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Murchú, Ruairí.
  • Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Ryan, Patricia.
  • Sherlock, Sean.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Duncan.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Tully, Pauline.
  • Ward, Mark.
  • Whitmore, Jennifer.
  • Wynne, Violet-Anne.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Brendan Griffin and Dara Calleary; Níl, Deputies Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and Duncan Smith.
Amendment declared carried.
Motion, as amended, agreed to.