Finance (Covid-19 and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages

Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 4

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 6, to delete lines 12 to 23 and substitute the following:

"(i) in paragraph (a)(i)(I), by the insertion of "or, where the claim relates to a period specified in subsection (8)(b)(ii)(I) or (II) or to any full week falling within the period beginning on 5 July 2021 and ending on 18 July 2021, 20 per cent," after "10 per cent",

(ii) in paragraph (a)(i)(II), by the insertion of "or, where the claim relates to a period specified in subsection (8)(b)(ii)(I) or (II) or to any full week falling within the period beginning on 5 July 2021 and ending on 18 July 2021, 10 per cent," after "5 per cent",

(iii) in paragraph (a)(ii)(I), by the insertion of "or, where the claim relates to a period specified in subsection (8)(b)(ii)(I) or (II) or to any full week falling within the period beginning on 5 July 2021 and ending on 18 July 2021, 20 per cent," after "10 per cent",

(iv) in paragraph (a)(ii)(II), by the insertion of "or, where the claim relates to a period specified in subsection (8)(b)(ii)(I) or (II) or to any full week falling within the period beginning on 5 July 2021 and ending on 18 July 2021, 10 per cent," after "5 per cent", and".

This amendment amends subsection 4(1)(d) of the Finance (Covid-19 and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021, as initiated.

Section 4 amends section 485 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 and gives effect to the enhanced restart repayments and the extension of the Covid restrictions support scheme, CRSS. This is a targeted business support introduced in the Finance Act 2020 for businesses that are significantly impacted by restrictions introduced by the Government under public health regulations to combat the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The scheme is designed to assist those businesses where Government restrictions prohibit or restrict customers from accessing their business premises and the trade has been significantly impacted or temporarily closed as a result.

The amendment is introduced to provide for the double rate of Covid restriction support scheme payments for businesses which continue to be subject to Government restrictions which prohibit or significantly restrict members of the public from accessing the business premises for the weeks commencing 5 July 2021 and 12 July 2021. The maximum weekly payment of CRSS will remain at €5,000. When the applicable Government restrictions are eased, these businesses will qualify for the enhanced restart repayment of double the normal rate of CRSS for a period of three weeks, subject to a maximum payment of €10,000 per week. This measure is designed to support businesses in various sectors that remain subject to ongoing public health restrictions in July.

There is a need for support for businesses that may not be closed but do not have as much business as they had heretofore. County Kerry predominantly relies on tourism. Suppliers of fish and meat that were supplying hotels, restaurants and small hostelry businesses have not been able to command as much business as they could previously. They are very worried that they will have to shed employees or close down altogether because their business has been seriously impacted, even though they have not been ordered to close. As a result of other businesses being closed, they have been hurt very badly.

I refer to people such as taxi drivers or bus operators. Taxi drivers have been told they will go back for a few weeks but they can see trouble looming. When the local people who are on vacation dry up or children go back to school at the end of August or in early September, they may not be able to survive. In fact, they believe they will not be able to survive without payments. Even drivers working for other operators who have gone back to work are very concerned and will need the pandemic payment to be continued, at least until the season begins next March, by which stage we hope everything will be back to normal. The Minister needs to consider their needs. I am asking him to consider the needs of those in the two sectors I have mentioned.

There are other businesses that are semi-operational but, as tourists are no longer coming in their droves and business is not at the level it was previously, they will not be able to continue. They are very keen to stay working and would be delighted to be able to continue working but that is not going to happen.

I agree that it will be difficult. I had an argument with the Minister on the night that Covid payments were introduced with regard to students and young people who work weekends or on a part-time basis. The Minister gave them €350. That was silly. Anybody who employs people now knows that personal public service number returns are done weekly. I am an employer. It would have been a simple exercise to find out what such people were earning, whether they worked a Saturday, a Sunday or a few nights in hotels and clubs and so on. The Minister would not do that and the Government gave them money. Many of them have saved the money they received. Now there are implications for Student Universal Support Ireland, SUSI, and many other things in the context of the payments made. Some of those who received the payment have spent it but some, although not many, are not interested in going back to work. Why would they go back to work? It is very difficult for employers to get people back.

Employers are in difficulty in terms of trying to function and keep their businesses going. Some businesses are half open and suffering uncertainty. Some of them will never get going again. Some of the employers whose businesses are open again have told me the custom just is not there. A lot of it has gone online, but it is not in shops and the various businesses to which I am referring, never mind taxis and many other sectors, such as musicians and those involved in the arts, who have just been wiped off the face of the earth. They will need ongoing supports. If the Government had been prudent and sensible in the context of the pandemic unemployment payment, PUP, in the first place, we may not be in such chaos now. I know it all has to be paid back. It is a serious situation.

I spoke to Caoimhe Kavanagh of Kavanaghs of Urlingford last week and met her on Sunday morning. They went for this so-called rocket take-off in the context of our outdoor summer and marketed it to the Irish people. I met a busload of 25 people on a big luxury coach at Kavanaghs of Urlingford on Sunday morning. They were so delighted to be getting out and to alight from the bus in Urlingford, get some refreshments and to go on then to various sites. All the Office of Public Works, OPW, sites are refusing to take the bus tour even though it is operating at half capacity. They will take people if they are registered in twos. These sites are prepared to have 12 or 13 cars at the site rather than one bus. That makes no sense whatsoever. It is time that officials dusted themselves down and got back to work because we need these people. They have 500 bed nights booked in Ballina, Deputy Calleary's area. Caoimhe Kavanagh was speaking to him as well. If we cannot get OPW sites open, it is madness. They are being very careful regarding Covid. The buses are restricted and partitions are in place. Some sites do not even have facilities, such as toilets, open. This is shocking. Is the Government interested in getting people back to work? I am not talking about a sky rocket like the Tánaiste suggested, but certainly getting back to some bit of normality. There are bigger issues here, and many of them, to be teased out.

I pointed out to the Minister and to other Ministers previously that certain cohorts of people who should get support and tick all the boxes for the support schemes are mysteriously excluded from them, which is really unfair. Obviously, I support the CRSS and have done so previously. I agree that the new business resumption support scheme dealt with in the Bill should be established but, once again, unless I am wrong - the Minister could just answer the question directly - I am assuming that drivers of public service vehicles, that is, taxi drivers, are being excluded from this scheme. Similarly, jobbing lone trader musicians and many of those who work in live performance have been excluded from all of the support schemes for no good reason, although I accept there are other supports for elements in the music, arts and live entertainment sector. I would love to hear that will change under this new scheme, but I am assuming that, for reasons that are inexplicable and, to my mind, completely unfair, the Government has once again excluded those particular cohorts, who continue to be impacted by the pandemic in both cases because they are linked to things like travel, tourism, hospitality and so on and, therefore, are not able to earn the sort of income and livelihood they were able to earn previously. Many taxi drivers have not even returned to work because they know there is not enough income out there. Rather, they are waiting for a full recovery of their sector.

To add insult to injury in that regard, they are now discovering that they are facing a cliff in terms of the one support they did get, namely, the PUP. They are being told that as soon as they hit the €203 rate they will be pushed onto a jobseeker's payment even though they are not jobseekers - they are taxi drivers, musicians or performers. If they do not accept that, they will face the loss of the PUP altogether, even though they cannot earn a full livelihood on the road or, in the case of music or whatever, because gigs have not recommenced.

There is still huge uncertainty around these areas. These people will almost certainly not be able to make a living. They seem to be losing out on both fronts, in terms of the PUP and their exclusion from the support schemes, when they have carried many costs and incurred debts because they have been hit, effectively closed down or had their earning capacity dramatically reduced as a result of the pandemic and the pandemic measures.

I ask the Minister to come back and tell me that they have not been excluded this time or if they have, why they have been excluded. It is grossly unfair.

I thank Deputies Boyd Barrett, Mattie McGrath and Danny Healy-Rae for the issues they have raised.

I will respond to the issues raised by Deputy Boyd Barrett first. On the business restrictions support scheme that is being introduced, a broader group of occupations is included in it, provided that recipients meet certain criteria in relation to their level of trading. That does include taxi drivers. It will include food suppliers, for example, in response to the issue that Deputy Danny Healy-Rae raised, as well as other occupations that have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic.

The business restrictions support scheme is a single payment. It is a percentage of the recipient's income or turnover across the qualifying period. The scheme is being brought in, with the first payment due in September, to try to deal with the issue of how we can support particular parts of our society and economy in one scheme, as opposed to the wide variety of grant schemes that have been available during the pandemic. Those grant schemes have been of value. Deputy Boyd Barrett touched upon the live performance sector. Nearly €50 million worth of supports have been in place for the live performance sector since March, from the performance support scheme to a support scheme for the live entertainment business, all the way up to a different way of trying to do the St. Patrick's Day festival. Therefore, there have been a variety of supports in place for the live entertainment sector.

Deputy Boyd Barrett raised a point about the PUP, which takes me onto Deputy Mattie McGrath's point. The PUP is being reduced but the payment and its existence also are being extended up until early next year. The reductions will be made in a staged way over time, as we hope our economy becomes more open and stays fully open.

In response to the points raised by Deputy McGrath, when the PUP was first brought in, it was a flat rate payment of €350. The reason for that was that we were in a situation at the time in which we had to find a way of giving income support to hundreds of thousands of people who were losing their jobs because we were telling employers not to open up their businesses for public health reasons. Given the crisis situation that we were in, we did not have the ability to differentiate the PUP based on the pre-pandemic income of individuals. As the House will know, in the more recent existence of the PUP, since before last summer it has been restructured so that it is based on pre-pandemic earnings. There are four different payment bands of the PUP which correlate to what recipients were earning before they lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

On Deputy McGrath's point in relation to the Office of Public Works, I was not aware of that issue. I am sure that the Minister of State, Deputy O'Donovan is working to try to get more sites fully open. Some of the sites that I have visited locally across Dublin, have been safely open. I do not see why the sites to which the Deputy referred could not share a similar status.

On the points raised by Deputy Healy-Rae, I hope it is the case that for those businesses to which he referred, that have not accessed the CRSS, they will still be entitled to access the EWSS because the trade and income of the company or the employer is below a certain level. They might not be able to access some of the additional schemes that have been announced in recent months, but if the level of trading is as hard hit as the Deputy is saying it is, and I am sure that it is, they would, in those circumstances, be able to access the EWSS. I hope they are all in a position that they can reopen more fully as the year goes on.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 4, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 5 to 12, inclusive, agreed to.

The three amendments tabled in respect of section 13 are all out of order.

Amendments Nos. 2 to 4, inclusive, not moved.
Sections 13 and 14 agreed to.
NEW SECTION

I move amendment No. 5:

In page 31, between lines 2 and 3, to insert the following:

Repayment of stamp duty where certain residential units leased

15. (1) The Act of 1999 is amended by the insertion of the following section after section 83D:

83E.(1) In this section—

‘Act of 1992’ means the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992;

‘approved housing body’ means a body approved of or standing approved of, under, or for the purposes of, section 6 of the Act of 1992;

‘housing authority’ has the same meaning as it has in the Act of 1992;

‘Minister’ means the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage;

‘qualifying date’ means the date on which a qualifying lease is executed;

‘qualifying lease’ means a lease, for a term of not less than 10 years, in respect of a relevant residential unit entered into with a housing authority or an approved housing body for the purpose of the provision of social housing support;

‘qualifying relevant residential unit’ has the meaning assigned to it by subsection (3);

‘relevant instrument’ means an instrument executed on or after 20 May 2021 that has been stamped in accordance with—

(a) paragraph (1)(b) of the heading in Schedule 1 titled ‘CONVEYANCE or TRANSFER on sale of any property other than stocks or marketable securities or a policy of insurance or a policy of life insurance’, or

(b) paragraph (3)(a)(i)(II) of the heading in Schedule 1 titled ‘LEASE’,

where the instrument was chargeable, in respect of the whole or part of the consideration under the instrument, to stamp duty at a rate of 10 per cent;

‘relevant residential unit’ has the same meaning as it has in section 31E;

‘social housing support’ has the same meaning as it has in the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009.

(2) In this section, a reference to acquisition shall include a reference to acquisition by way of a conveyance, transfer, lease, instrument,contract or agreement referred to in section 31E(2).

(3) This subsection applies where a person executes a qualifying lease not later than 24 months after the date of execution of a relevant instrument effecting the acquisition of the relevant residential unit leased under the qualifying lease (and such a relevant residential unit leased within that period is referred to in this section as a ‘qualifying relevant residential unit’).

(4) Where subsection (3) applies, subject to the other provisions of this section, stamp duty paid on a relevant instrument may be repaid in accordance with this section.

(5) The amount of stamp duty to be repaid, in relation to a relevant instrument and a qualifying relevant residential unit shall be determined by the formula—

A - B

where—

A is the amount of stamp duty paid on the relevant instrument, that was attributable to the qualifying relevant residential unit, and

B is the amount of stamp duty, attributable to the qualifying relevant residential unit, that would have been chargeable on the execution of the relevant instrument if the qualifying relevant residential unit had not been a relevant residential unit.

(6) A claim for a repayment under this section shall—

(a) be made by an accountable person,

(b) without prejudice to paragraph (d), be made in a form and manner specified by the Commissioners,

(c) include a declaration, in such form as the Commissioners specify, stating that subsection (3) applies,

(d) be made by electronic means and through such electronic systems as the Commissioners may make available for the time being for any such purpose, and the relevant provisions of Chapter 6 of Part 38 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 shall apply, and

(e) not be made until such time as a qualifying lease has been executed.

(7) Subject to the other provisions of this section, a repayment of stamp duty under this section shall—

(a) be made by the Commissioners pursuant to a claim made in accordance with subsection (6),

(b) not carry interest, and

(c) not be made pursuant to a claim made after the expiry of 4 years after the qualifying date.

(8) Where the Commissioners are of the opinion that the requirements of this section have not been met in relation to a claim for repayment,they shall decide to refuse the claim and shall notify the claimant in writing of the decision and the reasons for it.

(9) An accountable person aggrieved by a decision to refuse a claim for repayment, may appeal to the Appeal Commissioners against the decision in accordance with section 949I of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, within the period of 30 days after the date of the notification of the decision.

(10) Where—

(a) subsection (3) applies in respect of a qualifying lease of a qualifying relevant residential unit,

(b) a repayment of stamp duty has been made to an accountable person in respect of the qualifying relevant residential unit in accordance with this section by virtue of subsection (3) so applying, and

(c) the qualifying lease is terminated before the expiry of 10 years after the qualifying date,

the accountable person shall be liable to pay to the Commissioners some or all of the stamp duty that had been repaid under subsection (7) to the accountable person (and that stamp duty to which the foregoing liability attaches is referred to in this section as a ‘clawback’).

(11)The amount of a clawback shall be determined by the formula—

A x [(10 – Y)/10]

where—

A is the amount of stamp duty repaid that was attributable to the qualifying relevant residential unit,

Y is the number of years (including a part of a year) that have expired, after the qualifying date, on the date on which the qualifying lease is terminated.

(12) Interest shall be payable on the clawback calculated in accordance with section 159D from the date on which the repayment was made to the date of payment of the clawback to the Commissioners.

(13) Where an accountable person fails to pay the clawback, the Commissioners may make an assessment of the amount of the stamp duty concerned as if the failure to pay were a failure to deliver a return under section 20(2).

(14) Where there is more than one accountable person in relation to an instrument and a clawback, they shall be liable jointly and severally whether or not an assessment is made.

(15) For the purposes of this section, section 128A shall apply as if the period of 6 years referred to in subsection (4) of that section commenced on the qualifying date.

(16) Where a repayment has been made under this section and it is subsequently found that a declaration made in accordance with subsection (6)—

(a)was untrue in any material particular that would have resulted in are payment, or part of a repayment, allowed by this section not being made, and

(b)was made knowing same to be untrue or in reckless disregard as to whether or not it was true,

then the person who made such a declaration shall be liable to pay to the Commissioners as a penalty an amount equal to 125 per cent of the stamp duty that would not have been repaid had all the facts been truthfully declared, together with interest charged on that amount as may so become payable, calculated in accordance with section 159D, from the date on which the repayment was made to the date the penalty is paid.

(17) Where a person is liable to pay, in relation to a qualifying relevant residential unit, a clawback under subsection (10) and a penalty under subsection (16), the total liability of the person under those subsections shall be limited to the greater of the clawback under subsection (10) and the penalty under subsection (16).

(18) Notwithstanding any enactment or rule of law, the Commissioners may, by notice in writing, request the Minister to provide them with such information as is in the possession or control of the Minister as the Commissioners may reasonably require for the purposes of verifying—

(a) the execution of a qualifying lease, or

(b) the termination of a qualifying lease within the period of 10 years immediately following the qualifying date.

(19) Where the Commissioners make a request under subsection (18), the Minister shall provide such information as may be specified in the notice within the period specified in the notice which period, in any case, shall not be less than 30 days.

(20) Taxpayer information within the meaning of section 851A(1) of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 may be disclosed by a Revenue officer to the Minister for the purposes of enabling the Minister to comply with a request made under subsection (18).”.

(2) Subsection (1) shall come into operation on the day after the date of the passing of this Act.”.

This amendment is proposed in connection with section 13 of the Bill and the charging of a higher 10% rate of stamp duty where multiple residential units are acquired by a person in any 12-month period. It is proposed, in the context of the strategy of the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, to increase the supply of social housing by means of the long-term leasing of residential units from private sector owners. Leasing arrangements allow a greater proportion of social housing need to be met inside the short term. In the Bill as published, the person acquiring the residential units must pay the stamp duty without regard to what happens with the units after that. This amendment seeks to provide for a situation where residential units are then leased to a local authority or an approved housing body to be used as social housing. The Minister, Deputy Darragh O'Brien, is concerned, as am I, that the charging of additional stamp duty on the acquisition of such residential units will act as a disincentive to persons who might have been planning to acquire multiple units for onward leasing to a local authority or an approved housing body, and thereby reduce the supply of social housing.

I am addressing the potential for this disincentive by introducing a new stamp duty refund scheme. A new section 83E in the Stamp Duties Consolidation Act 1999 provides for the scheme. A person who has paid stamp duty at the 10% rate on the acquisition of a residential unit will be able to claim a refund on part of the stamp duty paid if and when the residential unit is then leased to a local authority or an approved housing body for social housing purposes. The amount to be refunded will be the difference between the stamp duty that would have been paid at the standard rate and the stamp duty paid at the 10% rate.

Some qualifying conditions will apply. First, the lease with a local authority or approved housing body must be entered into within a period of two years after the residential unit has been acquired. Second, the lease must be for a period of at least ten years. The refunded amount must be paid back to Revenue where a lease is subsequently terminated within this ten-year period.

These qualifying conditions are intended to ensure the supply of more social housing as quickly as possible and the long-term availability of residential units for social housing. This amendment is intended to come into effect on the day after the passing of this Bill.

This is nothing but a pure political stroke. It is a last-minute amendment shoehorning in a tax break for vulture funds, cuckoo funds or investment funds, whatever you want to call them, that are now incentivised to bulk-buy homes and get a tax break if they lease them back to the local authorities.

The Minister knows only too well that, in May, members of the public were outraged when they saw what unfolded when a cuckoo fund snapped up 135 homes in a newly built estate in Maynooth under the noses of struggling homebuyers who had worked hard for many years to save a deposit to own their own home. They were outraged even more when they found out that this fund, like all the other investment funds in the housing market, was being facilitated by the Government. It is paying no corporation tax on its rental profits, no capital gains tax and minimal stamp duty. In response to this avalanche of outrage from the public, the Government scrambled to give the appearance that it was taking action, hoping the public would buy this. In reality, it was a con job because the Government introduced a stamp duty rate that was too low in the first instance. It allowed investment funds to bulk-buy apartments and to be completely exempt from the higher rate of stamp duty, despite the facts that six out of every seven homes built in Dublin city in 2019 were, indeed, apartments and that the officials in the Department called for the stamp duty surcharge to apply to apartments, warning that by having no extra stamp duty on the bulk purchase of apartments, the individual home purchaser is potentially driven out of the market. That is exactly what is happening. The Government paid no heed to that advice and put the interests of the funds above the interests of homebuyers.

With this amendment, the Minister brazenly goes a step further. He is giving investment funds a tax break when they snap up homes from under the noses of struggling homebuyers if they lease them to local authorities, with the latter and taxpayers picking up the bill and paying the rents to the investment funds for 25 years. The funds do not pay a cent in corporation tax on the rent that is paid to them. The tax arrangements have been facilitated by the Government, including the Minister for Finance. You could not make it up. Not only will the legislation allow funds to continue to push struggling homebuyers out of the market but it will also deliver poor value for money for the taxpayer. This is not just my view or that of Sinn Féin; it is also the view of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

I listened to the comments made by the Taoiseach yesterday and again today on Leaders' Questions in response to me and Deputy McDonald. It is clear that he simply does not know what he is talking about. Investment funds are not just outbidding prospective homeowners because they are also outbidding approved housing bodies by as much as €80,000 per year. They can do so because the Government has introduced sweetheart tax deals that allow them that type of firepower. It is doubling down on these with tonight's sneaky amendment. Sinn Féin will not stand for this, and the Dáil should not stand for it. We will oppose this amendment. Unless the Minister scraps it, we will oppose the legislation. What the Government is doing should not be facilitated by this House because it will have long-term consequences for young and old people who are locked out of the market.

Since I entered the Dáil in 2011, I have been railing against the policies pursued by the Fine Gael-Labour Party Government, the Fine Gael-Independents Government and the current Government in that they have actively encouraged vulture and cuckoo funds to come in and take over what was virtually the entire NAMA portfolio. Now they are coming in to buy up new estates and they are pricing the first-time buyer or ordinary working person who wants to buy out of the market. The policy is inexplicable. The only beneficiaries are the vultures and cuckoos, which make an absolute fortune. They have directly contributed to the dire housing crisis. They have played a large part in creating the dire housing crisis that we now face, that affects vast swathes of our population and that has effectively locked out a whole generation of young working people. It is not just the young, however, because anybody trying to buy or rent is now faced with extortionate house prices and rents that are controlled and manipulated by the profit-driven entities.

The uproar over the latest scandal concerning the buying up of estates forced the Government to offer a token measure. Even the rate of 10% is a bit of a joke. It is a total joke. A stamp duty rate of 100% should be applied to purchases by the funds to completely exclude them from the market. That should be the policy. Consider the proposal to impose a 10% levy if the funds lease the homes back to the local authority. The Taoiseach's excuse for this over the past two days was to say that before we build our own housing, we must have a stopgap, meaning a small amount of leasing is not a bad thing on the grounds that it will help to deliver social housing. He even tried to pit the need to provide social housing against the needs of first-time buyers or young working families who want to buy.

There is a simple answer to this. I want to put it to the Minister. I put it to the Taoiseach today and he did not answer. We should be building our own housing and excluding the entities but, if in the short term we have to source some housing from private developers as a stopgap, we should purchase it directly from the developers, not lease it from an intermediary, namely, a cuckoo fund or vulture fund. The latter is shockingly bad value for money. As the Minister said, there is only a ten-year guarantee on the lease so the funds can walk away after ten years with the asset, making a massive profit. Alternatively, if we purchased the houses directly, we could allocate them for both social and affordable housing while ramping up the programme for the direct construction of public and affordable housing on our own land. What is being done is outrageous. There is no justification whatsoever. The Minister should not proceed with the measure and he should take it out of the Bill.

There was a lot of merit in the Minister's first amendment. There are many good points in the Bill but lumping the proposal under discussion into the Bill is like putting the fox in with the hens. It is not compatible at all and it is not fair. A few weeks ago, we had a Bill here decrying the bulk-buying of homes in estates by entities and the outbidding of young people, including young couples, who want to put a roof over their heads. The same entities are being given an advantage again by reducing their stamp duty. If the Government wants to reduce the stamp duty, that is fine but it should do so for everyone and have a level playing pitch. The proposal is not fair at all.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett and I may not agree on cutting turf and things like that but we do agree on this. If the Minister wants to provide housing for people — there is a housing issue — he should go back to basics such as buying sites around towns and villages and giving funding to the local authorities to build houses. I have nothing against developers or anyone. I disagree with Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett in that there is nothing wrong with making money but it should be made fairly. An advantage should not be given to certain investors — perhaps foreign investors in this case — so they can outbid local young fellows who want to put a roof over their heads. The prospects are slipping away from young people in spite of everything because the cost of materials is going up and they cannot provide houses for themselves. An unfair advantage is being given to the entities by reducing the stamp duty. After a few years, the stamp duty will not matter because the funds will have availed of the relief and will have blown young people out of the property market, denying them the right to put a roof over their heads. It is very unfair.

Like the previous speakers, I believe this is a nice cosy deal for the vulture funds and cuckoo funds. It allows them to come in and purchase houses using the stamp duty break. It will not help the ordinary people on the housing list, some of whom have been on it for up to a decade.

Unfortunately, this is certainly not going to help matters. In the past number of months, we have seen the scandalous situation whereby these funds were buying up houses all over the cities, with ordinary people left unable to get anywhere near the amounts of money these funds were able to pay. These funds will now be receiving tax breaks and the ordinary person will be caught in a difficult situation.

As Deputy Danny Healy-Rae said, we need to get back to basics. Unfortunately, on housing, we moved away from basics a hell of a long time ago. We have people from other countries buying properties here and we are racing around trying to buy them back off them. It is a right vicious circle. The Government is long enough in office to have resolved this issue. Young couples and ordinary people trying to start off in life are finding it extremely difficult. It is scandalous and there is a crisis here in Dublin, in Cork and throughout my constituency in west Cork. My phone has been hopping every day with calls from people desperate to get homes in Kinsale, Clonakilty, Skibbereen and Bantry.

This amendment will not help in any way, shape or form. It will make matters much worse for those who are struggling. As has been said, we need to get back to basics and the serviced sites that were sold in rural communities. Young people and families used to come in and build great towns and villages but that is not heard of any more. It is a different situation now. I will certainly not be supporting this amendment.

The Labour Party cannot support this amendment either. We would be minded, like other parties, to support the thrust of the legislation extending the Covid-19 supports that are of such benefit to working people and businesses that are struggling across the country. If it is the case, however, that this amendment survives and is inserted into the legislation, we will not support this legislation.

Already, funds are buying up homes across this country. These homes could be typically bought by first-time buyers. These issues have been well ventilated in this House and elsewhere. As we know, these funds are leasing back these properties to local authorities at very attractive rates. Frankly, it is the deal of the century for these funds. They win every single time. They just cannot lose under this current regime and they certainly will not lose under this new system. They have a cast-iron 25-year deal with a local authority which will pay them top dollar every single month. At the end of 25 years, the funds still own the property, which will, of course, have appreciated in value over that period of time. The proposal before us tonight, as others have said, is straight out of the “You could not make it up” category. It is as simple as that. Given what we know and our experience, we really should know better.

This morning, the Taoiseach tried to explain away the situation, as he did yesterday. His rationale was absolutely pathetic. It was a form of emotional blackmail. He said that there were deals in place for the signing of arrangements for 2,400 properties, that these were in the pipeline and that if we did not vote to support this, we would essentially ensure that 2,400 individuals or families would be put out on the side of the road without housing or a roof over their heads. That is astonishing. These really are hare-brained arrangements which do not make economic sense. They may have made sense in an emergency for a short period of time but they do not make economic sense now and do not make for good public policy.

The State is leasing thousands of homes through arrangements of this nature at this time. We are doing that because we have had five wasted years during which sufficient numbers of affordable homes were not built and sufficient numbers of public homes were not built on public lands and made available for those who need them.

The Taoiseach, in his defence of this proposition yesterday and today, defended long-term leasing arrangements. What he was defending, however, was a failed policy. It was essentially an admission of failure on his part and the part of the Government more generally. It was an admission that there had been a failure to build the social and affordable homes we need. That does not sit well with me and is a serious black mark against this and the previous Government.

Under pressure, the Taoiseach said that this was not a perfect regime and was something that he wants to see changed. What he wants to see changed are the arrangements for owning the property once the 25-year leasing period is up. He told this House today and yesterday that this is what he wants to see changed. The housing for all policy the Government plans to produce over the next few weeks will, the Taoiseach says, include a provision to ensure the State or local authority will own the property after a period of time. I will believe that when I see it. I ask the Minister to reconsider this amendment. It is wrong-headed, ill-advised, does not make economic sense and we cannot support it.

I am unable to support this amendment. I have no ideological hang-ups about developers, builders or whatever. Probably against my better judgment and despite serious concerns, I voted for the Land Development Agency Bill. I am willing to try anything to solve the housing problem. Many years ago, when the vulture funds first arrived, the former Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, whom I wish well, said this was a welcome and necessary development. They are anything but a welcome development. I will relate to the House again what I think of vultures. I am a sheep farmer and when lambing sheep we know what vultures do. They pick from the bones. We have to get real here.

We are dealing with the Finance (Covid-19 and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021 and here we are, almost in the last hour of the second last week of the Dáil, inserting this clause to support the vulture and cuckoo funds again. It is completely wrong and indecent. If we do not vote for it, we will be told off. Emotional bullying is now part of the Taoiseach and Tánaiste’s whole Covid-19 strategy and narrative. Anyone who questions it is considered less than patriotic. It is the same with this amendment. We are told that 2,400 or 2,500 homes will be built under this measure. It is a costly, wasteful and circumvented way to build them.

The Government should fund local authorities to build houses and get the monkey of An Taisce off the backs of young people in rural areas so that they can build their own houses. Let the banks give mortgages out to people once all of the reasonable issues have been gone through. If people have received a Covid-19 payment for a week, the banks are now withdrawing their mortgages from them. This is blackguarding. We are not all in this together. It is time that the Minister, and his colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Michael McGrath, told the banks they are not functioning. We know how the insurance companies function and we can see the dysfunctionality of that now. They are flying away from the land despite all the new changes in payouts and claims.

Big is beautiful for this Government. It is infatuated with big ideas. It is the same with big pharma as it is with the big vulture funds. The small man does not matter. The local authorities could and did build houses through the decades, as did the voluntary housing sector. I salute Dr. Donal McManus and his team at the Irish Council for Social Housing and the supports the council gives to the 300 or 400 small organisations involved in this area. There are some big organisations involved in social housing too. They are building and have the capacity to do so. They now have to compete with vulture funds and others which are receiving breaks from stamp duty and everything else. This is such a circumvented and convoluted set-up. It is an "around the house and mind the dresser" arrangement.

If a local authority wants to build a scheme of houses, it has to go through about seven different phases where it must go up to the Department, down in the car to another part of the Department, back up and around the house and the country. These funds then have the red carpet rolled out for them. We let them come in and when they are here they make a fool of us.

I fundamentally disagree with the housing assistance payment, HAP, scheme given the amount of money we are paying. I have received figures recently on my county and they are astonishing. If we do not build houses, we will never get out of this spiral. We need to build decent houses. Perhaps the Government might look at some of the offices that are lying empty close to this building. I saw them as I walked around the area this evening in the lovely sunshine, which was a big contrast from yesterday. These could be redesigned as housing units, especially for young people. We need to be imaginative. We are supposed to be encouraging people to work from home. Some people, including some public servants, do not want to come back to the office, so we will not need all these office buildings.

I want to support some of the measures in the Bill. I spoke to an earlier amendment but I cannot support this one. It is a trick of the loop and a three-card trick and is oriented towards vulture funds and cuckoo funds. Why they have the Government in such a stranglehold I do not know. It is as simple as that. I will not support the amendment.

This amendment is a sneaky one. The Taoiseach has denied that that is the case. He has told the Dáil twice now, I think, that he indicated that this would be the case when vulture funds were being debated nine weeks ago. Well, if the Taoiseach did give an indication at the time, it was so cryptic and so far beneath the radar that no Opposition Deputy, alert and all as we were, no journalist in this country, alert and all as they are, and no member of the public following the debate noticed it. There is a reason for this. The reason is that the Government was on the ropes nine weeks ago when the vulture funds crisis erupted and, if the Taoiseach had said then what the Minister is saying now, while I am not saying it would have necessarily been a knockout blow to the Government, it would have put it into a far deeper crisis. Now, however, the Government feels that the heat of public opinion on that issue has lifted a little and it is able to show its colours and reveal the arrangements it has put in place now for the vultures. It is a sneaky amendment, and the Government did not have the guts or the courage to nail its colours to the mast nine weeks ago because it knew there would have been consequences for it had it done so. That is the first point.

The second point is that there are winners and losers here. The Government says people on the local authority list who are housed will be winners. We will come to that in a second. Certainly, the vulture funds are winners. They will not enter into lease arrangements without ensuring their own pound of flesh and, as it stands, they will be able to walk away with their properties in, what is it, ten years, did the Minister say? The losers will be the ordinary taxpayers of this country because they will shell out over and above the odds for these arrangements.

What about the people on the social housing waiting lists who get housed? There are other ways of housing them. There is a simple proposal. Deputy Boyd Barrett has outlined it. Let the Minister explain to the House his reasons for not opting for it. The proposal is that the local authorities bulk-buy the houses directly themselves, cut out the vulture fund middle man, house the people on the social housing waiting lists and save the taxpayer a pretty penny. That is the alternative. The Minister should explain to the House why he is not prepared to go down that road.

I am very interested in one point the Taoiseach has raised and which I think the Minister has repeated this evening. I am not sure about that last point, but certainly the Taoiseach has raised it. It is that the people who will end up owning the homes will not be the vulture funds walking away with their assets but the State. We are being asked to vote for this - I will not vote for it in any case - on the basis of that promise. That is a pig in a poke. The Government should put a little detail on that promise and explain to the House and to the people watching this debate how the Government will ensure that the State ends up owning those houses. Will the State nationalise them without compensation? Will the State nationalise them at cost price? Will the State buy them off the vulture funds at a cost considerably above their real value, making more profit for the vulture funds from the sale? The Government should not leave this vague. Let the Government give us the details on this.

I will conclude my remarks because we need to allow time to vote on this amendment. It will be an important vote.

I am listening to the debate and I am confused. Perhaps I am missing something and maybe I am wrong, but I think we are creating an extra layer in the provision of housing. If houses are coming onto the market, why are the local authorities and the housing associations not purchasing them directly? Is it the case that these investment or pension funds are tied up in the finance of the construction of the houses? Why can we not go in there and buy them?

I have a concern about leasing houses for 25 years. That is a generation. Where do the houses end up after the 25 years? Where do the families in those houses end up after the 25 years? Perhaps there is a communication issue, but I would just like to know why we cannot get into the market and purchase those houses to create housing immediately for people who need it rather than having to bring in another layer to provide the houses to a housing association through the Department.

The Government has taken shamelessness to a whole new level in proceeding with this brazen amendment. Having promised to stop cuckoo funds snapping up homes, the Government is actively incentivising that and claiming it is doing the opposite. The people relying on the Government to do something about the vulture funds have been abandoned by it. The truth is that the Government promised to put a stamp duty increase on these funds and it is now reversing that by ramming through this amendment. It is disgraceful, dishonest and undignified. First-time buyers are already competing with local authorities and approved housing bodies for new homes. Now the Government has said they must compete with cuckoo funds too. Those cuckoo funds are lining up to enter into leasing agreements with local authorities because the Government is giving them such an incredible deal. Is it any wonder that one of the housing Minister's own advisers told him that 75% of funds in Ireland were banking on buying homes to lease to the State? The Government needs to get real. We learned today that cuckoo funds have spent €6.2 billion on the residential property market here since 2018. The Social Democrats call on the Government to end this free-for-all and to withdraw this disgraceful amendment.

A Chathaoirligh, could you inform me how much time I have left, please?

I think there are 11 minutes left in total. We can go back around if needs be.

That is for the whole debate. Let us get to the vote.

It is up to the Minister to take his time. If Deputies do not take up time afterwards, the amendment can be put to a vote.

Thank you, a Chathaoirligh, for clarifying that.

I have heard many claims from the Opposition this evening about housing policy and about what my Government's motivation is in how we can supply and build more homes for our citizens, particularly those who need them the most. I have heard the Opposition look to paint many pictures with their words as to what is behind this amendment and what is motivating the policies of the Government as we try to respond to the needs in our country which we know are great and as to how we can build more homes more quickly and more affordably. I want to contrast the claims of the Opposition with the reality of what I have seen this Government deliver, such as the reality of what is happening on Dominick Street, a housing project off the top of O'Connell Street delivered by Dublin City Council, delivering 70 new social homes for families who have been waiting for those homes for years. Those homes are now being built. Out of the 70 homes that will be delivered and that are being built, which I had the privilege of visiting a few days ago, 40 will be used to rehouse tenants who were living in other Dublin City Council accommodation on Dominick Street, with 30 of the homes going to families who have been waiting for houses to be built by the State.

That is what is happening at the heart of the city. It is an example of the kind of direct building of new homes being undertaken by Dublin City Council on behalf of the Government. It does not stop there. Another example of what is happening is the cost rental scheme that was opened today by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Deputy Darragh O'Brien, which is all about collaboration between the local authorities - between the State - and also the private sector, at times, to deliver more homes for people in a way that delivers rent that is affordable. That is the first example of a project like that. I appreciate that so many have waited for so long for progress like this, but it is happening with more homes like that to follow, under this Government due to the funding we will make available to it and the policies we will implement. An example of the change that will come was agreed by the Cabinet this week, the Shanganagh housing project. It will be a really important project of different types of housing and tenures, all built or enabled by the State, by this Government.

These points are all worth making because I hear charges of a free for all, if not tonight then at other points, of this Government only being interested in the market developing and meeting the housing needs of those whose needs we have to meet. Those claims do not stack up against the reality that the largest builder of homes in the country is the Government, through local authorities, either directly through them or through approved housing bodies, examples of which are the projects I just mentioned. The amount of money being made available to local authorities which they use directly or through approved housing bodies is growing weekly, monthly and by the year, to deliver more homes. I know that for so many, those homes are not coming quickly or affordably enough or at the scale they want but that is what the Government is working to address. Through existing policies which we will strengthen in the coming weeks and months, we will meet more of the housing needs from families and people for affordable homes and rent, and for more homes to be built via local authorities as well as more homes to be built by the private sector for those who are able to buy and own them in their entirety. This is about the Government and the economy - public and private sectors - co-ordinated by this Government working to deliver more homes as quickly as we can. Behind the figures I mentioned is a new home being built, a house or apartment, through a local authority or approved housing body to meet the needs we know have to be met. I hope that despite everything that happened last year and this year, we may yet get to build between 16,000 and 20,000 homes this year.

That leads me to the role of funds which has been debated at length here and elsewhere, particularly the role they can play in the provision of rental accommodation which, I believe, in many cases would not be built otherwise. The question confronting us is for a country of our scale and the number of banks we have left, and the need to deliver over 30,000 homes annually, to get that up to 40,000, at a cost of at least €12 billion to €16 billion annually, whether there is a role for the savings and pensions of other countries, of other workers being co-ordinated into the provision of new accommodation in Ireland. Whatever names are given to the funds that operate in the market, there is a big question which the Opposition is yet to answer: if we acknowledge that we need to build homes at scale and at speed, and that there is a burning need for the supply of new homes to be quickly accelerated, and what the Government is already doing with the money it has made available with the accelerated plans in local authorities and approved housing bodies, is there a role for the private sector within this, particularly in the provision of rental accommodation? If the Opposition takes the view that funds have no role at all in providing this accommodation then this raises the question it has yet to answer, namely, how that rental accommodation will be provided, particularly in the context of how many homes-----

On a point of order-----

-----have already been delivered by a strengthened Government putting more money into the provision of homes directly.

This is a point of order in the middle of the Minister speaking.

Can I move that the question be put to move closure to the debate? People have expressed their view that they wish to take a vote on the amendment. I propose a closure motion that the question be put.

A proposal to close the debate has to be agreed. Is that agreed?

No, it is not agreed. I know the Opposition Members are all in favour of their views being heard but if they could do me the courtesy of one more minute, I would be very happy to allow the vote to happen. If the Leas-Cheann Comhairle will allow me a further minute to conclude I will conclude my speech to facilitate a vote taking place.

(Interruptions).

Just one minute, the Cathaoirleach is being drawn into something. There has been a motion to close, there is no agreement and the Minister is on his feet. There is one minute left.

How much time is left?

There is one minute and ten seconds.

I have heard the Opposition make claims about ordinary people and families and their needs being met. In supporting this amendment, I am motivated by the risk that 2,500 families would not have their social housing needs met without this change. The Opposition's approach is putting their dreams and needs at risk in relation to social housing.

Complete nonsense.

Amendment put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 74; Níl, 59; Staon, 0.

  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Browne, James.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Costello, Patrick.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowe, Cathal.
  • Devlin, Cormac.
  • Donnelly, Stephen.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Duffy, Francis Noel.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Feighan, Frankie.
  • Flaherty, Joe.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Foley, Norma.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Hourigan, Neasa.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Lawless, James.
  • Leddin, Brian.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • Martin, Catherine.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • Matthews, Steven.
  • McAuliffe, Paul.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Murnane O'Connor, Jennifer.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Noonan, Malcolm.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Brien, Joe.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Connor, James.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • 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.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smyth, Ossian.
  • Troy, Robert.
  • Varadkar, Leo.

Níl

  • Barry, Mick.
  • Berry, Cathal.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Brady, John.
  • Browne, Martin.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Carthy, Matt.
  • Clarke, Sorca.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Conway-Walsh, Rose.
  • Cronin, Réada.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Daly, Pa.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Paul.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Farrell, Mairéad.
  • Fitzmaurice, Michael.
  • Gannon, Gary.
  • Guirke, Johnny.
  • Healy-Rae, Danny.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kelly, Alan.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Kerrane, Claire.
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McNamara, Michael.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • Murphy, Verona.
  • Mythen, Johnny.
  • Nash, Ged.
  • O'Callaghan, Cian.
  • O'Donoghue, Richard.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Rourke, Darren.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Murchú, Ruairí.
  • Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Ryan, Patricia.
  • Shanahan, Matt.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Bríd.
  • Smith, Duncan.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Tully, Pauline.
  • Ward, Mark.
  • Whitmore, Jennifer.
  • Wynne, Violet-Anne.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Brendan Griffin and Jack Chambers; Níl, Deputies Pádraig Mac Lochlainn and Richard Boyd Barrett.
Amendment declared carried.
Deputy Holly Cairns did not vote in this division due to an agreed pairing arrangement with Minister Helen McEntee for the duration of the Minister’s maternity leave.

The time for this debate having expired, I am required to put the following question in accordance with an order of the Dáil of this day: "That in respect of each of the sections undisposed of, the section or, as appropriate, the section, as amended, is hereby agreed to in committee, the Title is hereby agreed to in committee, the Bill, as amended, is accordingly reported to the House, Report Stage is hereby completed and the Bill is hereby passed." Is the question agreed to?

Given the disgraceful amendment passed by the Government, the Bill needs to be opposed by the House.

Question put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 78; Níl, 55; Staon, 0.

  • Berry, Cathal.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Browne, James.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Costello, Patrick.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowe, Cathal.
  • Devlin, Cormac.
  • Donnelly, Stephen.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Duffy, Francis Noel.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Feighan, Frankie.
  • Flaherty, Joe.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Foley, Norma.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Hourigan, Neasa.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Lawless, James.
  • Leddin, Brian.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • Martin, Catherine.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • Matthews, Steven.
  • McAuliffe, Paul.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Murnane O'Connor, Jennifer.
  • Murphy, Verona.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Noonan, Malcolm.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Brien, Joe.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Connor, James.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • 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, Ossian.
  • Troy, Robert.
  • Varadkar, Leo.

Níl

  • Barry, Mick.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Brady, John.
  • Browne, Martin.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Carthy, Matt.
  • Clarke, Sorca.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Conway-Walsh, Rose.
  • Cronin, Réada.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Daly, Pa.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Paul.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Farrell, Mairéad.
  • Fitzmaurice, Michael.
  • Gannon, Gary.
  • Guirke, Johnny.
  • Healy-Rae, Danny.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kelly, Alan.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Kerrane, Claire.
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McNamara, Michael.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • Mythen, Johnny.
  • Nash, Ged.
  • O'Callaghan, Cian.
  • O'Donoghue, Richard.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Rourke, Darren.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Murchú, Ruairí.
  • Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Ryan, Patricia.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Bríd.
  • Smith, Duncan.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Tully, Pauline.
  • Ward, Mark.
  • Whitmore, Jennifer.
  • Wynne, Violet-Anne.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Brendan Griffin and Jack Chambers; Níl, Deputies Pádraig Mac Lochlainn and Richard Boyd Barrett.
Question declared carried.
Deputy Holly Cairns did not vote in this division due to an agreed pairing arrangement with Minister Helen McEntee for the duration of the Minister’s maternity leave.