Land and Conveyancing Law Reform (Amendment) Bill 2019: Report Stage

Amendment No. 1 is out of order.

Amendment No. 1 not moved.

I move amendment No. 2:

In page 3, between lines 10 and 11, to insert the following:

"Amendment of section 108 of Land And Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009

2. Section 108 of the Land And Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 is amended by the insertion of the following subsection after subsection (1):

"(1A) (a) In the case of a housing loan mortgage, notwithstanding the terms of the mortgage agreement or anything to the contrary set out in subsection (1), a mortgagee may not appoint a receiver without the permission of the Circuit Court.

(b) An application to appoint a receiver pursuant to paragraph (a) shall be made to the Circuit Court on notice to the mortgagor. In considering an application for an Order to appoint a receiver the Court may make such enquiries as it considers necessary to determine whether the appointment of a receiver is necessary for the purpose of receiving any income or other property as set out in subsection (1)(c) deriving from the property. Having made such enquiry, and heard the parties to the proceedings, the Court may refuse the Order sought or may grant an Order on such terms as it considers appropriate in the circumstances.".".

We discussed these issues on Committee Stage but I wish to raise them again because they are important. They pertain to individuals who would not enjoy the protections of this legislation or any other Act concerning repossession because they would fall within the ambit of receivership. Free Legal Advice Centres, FLAC, has experience of the problem, which has the potential to escalate. It relates to those who bought a property with a mortgage with a view to its being the family home but who, for whatever reason, had to leave it and let it out with a view to using the rent to make mortgage repayments, with every intention of returning to the home in the medium to longer term. Very often, these individuals are trying their very best to keep up to date with their repayments. We are trying, through our amendment, to rectify the problem so they will be in a position to benefit from the system. They have very little protection and are not covered because, since they are not in the property, a receiver can move in. The proposition is very reasonable. I realise the Minister has made statements about delays but I do not believe that is the way this process should work. I understand this is useful legislation and we support it. It offers vital protection to those it covers. If the amendment is not accepted, there may not be another appropriate opportunity soon to deal with this issue. It is important that it has been tabled. I will be pressing it.

I wish to speak in support of the amendment. I acknowledge the work of FLAC on this and its submission on the Bill. With the permission of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, I will refer to its submission. It states the issue of the appointment of receivers to properties that are the principal private residence of the borrower has become contentious in recent months, particularly in light of the increasing number of loans that have been sold by the pillar banks to investment and vulture funds. FLAC has noted this particularly where the borrower has, at some point following the occurrence of arrears, moved out of the property and rented it to a tenant in order to stem the arrears problem and-or attempt to resolve it. Typically, the borrower will move back to his or her original family home or try to source cheaper accommodation with friends and relatives. In the cases FLAC has seen, the borrower subsequently pays the full amount of the rent directly to the lender and therefore the appointment of the receiver is arguably unnecessary. Indeed, as the receiver is deemed to be the agent of the mortgagor or borrower under section 108(2) of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009, though appointed by the mortgagee or lender, the appointment of the receiver may lead to less money being paid to the lender as the costs of the receiver would be deducted from the rent paid by the tenant to the landlord or borrower. FLAC believes that in some of these cases the appointment of a receiver is a prelude to evicting the relevant tenants, obtaining vacant possession of the property and then selling it without having to bring legal proceedings to the Circuit Court to repossess it in the normal manner envisaged by the Act of 2009. This strategy robs a borrower who has acted in good faith, has attempted to deal with the arrears problem and has credible proposals to solve that problem of the opportunity to convince a court that the possession order should not be granted, and it effectively undermines the role of the courts to administer justice. It also undermines the intention of this Bill, which is to empower the Circuit Court to make the decision as to whether such an order is granted, according to a specific statutory criterion. The mortgage deed, according to FLAC, will generally provide for the power of the lender to appoint a receiver on the occurrence of specific events, including a default in the payment of instalments. This is currently backed up by section 108(1) of the Act of 2009, which allows the lender to appoint a receiver in the event of arrears or other breaches of the agreement. No other conditions are imposed on the exercise of this right. Subsection (3) allows the receiver to "exercise any powers delegated by the mortgagee or other person".

In essence, we are supporting the amendment on the basis of the grounds set out, where there is an intervention whereby the mortgagee may not appoint a receiver without the permission of the Circuit Court. We believe this complements the Bill and speaks to the spirit of the Bill proposed originally by the Minister of State, Deputy Moran. It is on that basis that we support the amendment.

I tabled amendments similar to those tabled by Deputy Ó Laoghaire on Committee Stage. I did not press them on that Stage. I recollect they did not proceed to a vote. I did not press the amendments because the Minister of State, Deputy Moran, very sensibly informed me that if we did, it would delay the progress of the legislation and mean it would not be enacted. I openly expressed my concern about that on Committee Stage and, for that reason, withdrew my amendments, which were the same as those of Deputy Ó Laoghaire and which, in fairness, were brought to my attention by FLAC.

I am sure it is the same for Deputy Ó Laoghaire. I am conscious, however, that we are here on the Final Stages of this legislation which will be enacted this evening. There is no doubt about that. This amendment is a useful one for people who are property owners, particularly where that property is their primary residence. We have a situation where under a deed a receiver can be automatically appointed over a residential property without any recourse to the courts. It has the effect, although that may not be the intention, of circumventing the requirements of going to court for a repossession order. That is because the receiver's powers simply kick in on foot of a contract entered into by the two parties prior to the appointment of the receiver. Subject to what the Minister of State has to say, and as always I will listen to him carefully, my inclination at this stage is to support this amendment since the Bill is going to be enacted this evening.

The Government is opposing this amendment. The basic objective of the Bill is to provide adequate protections for people in mortgage arrears in respect of their principal private residences. This amendment will not help such people in any way for the simple reason that receivers are not appointed to principal private residences. In this case, as there is no rental income from principal private residences the appointment of the receiver would be of no benefit to the lender. The rationale behind the proposed amendment appears to be an intention to assist certain borrowers who, for whatever reason, rent their principal private residences with the view of servicing their mortgages. I should point out that such action may, in itself, be a breach of the mortgage contract entered into by the borrower and the lender. Such contracts may preclude the renting out of the principal private residences.

Having said that, I have to add that it is not clear to me how often such a situation arises. It is clear, however, that the proposed amendment would cover all instances of lenders appointing a receiver and that would include all buy-to-let mortgages. That would cause difficulties to the Courts Service regarding the demands on the courts' time and the cost of processing applications for court orders. Requiring lenders to apply for a court order prior to the appointment of the receiver would lead to increased demands on time and costs for the Courts Service. It should be added that, apart from any statutory powers to appoint a receiver, mortgages usually reserve the contractual rights of the mortgagee to appoint a receiver with the conditions in section 108(1) satisfied. This amendment seeks to set out the terms that may be contained in the mortgage arrears contract. It could, if enacted, lead to legal challenge. If the amendment is passed the Minister has indicated that it will be necessary to obtain legal advice on the matter prior to the Bill returning to the Seanad. That would, without doubt, delay the passage of this Bill. I am opposing the amendment for those reasons.

On one hand, the Minister of State has said that it is not clear that this is going to affect many people but on the other hand, he states that it will be a drain on the resources of the courts. Which is it? If it is going to place further demands on the Courts Service and if that means the difference between a case being heard, a case involving people in danger of losing their home or a home to which they hope to return, then I have no issue with that going before the courts. I think that is the kind of issue that should be tried before the courts. That is the very point that this amendment draws us into, of trying to get around the courts by using the approach of a receivership. FLAC is coming across that and it is a reality, whatever the number of cases involved, be it a dozen, 200 or a greater number. It is important that those families and individuals involved be protected.

I understand the Minister of State's point regarding delaying this Bill. I do not want to delay it either. If we are, however, stating that we cannot pass any amendments because it could delay legislation then that is a way of stating that certain areas will not be dealt with at all and we will come back to them at some unknown date in the future. This is the place where we can deal with it and we should deal with it. I am, therefore, pressing this amendment.

I want to give some indication of my thinking on this issue. I will not say that we hold the balance of power but we have a significant influence regarding this amendment. I am in the same position now as I was before the committee. Regarding what the Minister of State just said, I do not think it is a good point to claim that we should oppose this amendment simply because people are going to have to apply to the courts and the Circuit Courts are going to get busier as result. That is not a good enough reason. It is a reason to provide greater resources to the courts and to ensure they have sufficient resources to be able to apply the laws we pass in the Houses of the Oireachtas. I said on Committee Stage that the reason I was not going to push these amendments was that would delay the enactment of this legislation. It is important legislation and I am concerned that if this amendment is passed, then the Bill will be delayed.

The Minister of State's best point was his last one, although it was not a legal point but a political one. I am referring to the Minister of State's comment that if this amendment is enacted that it is going to delay the legislation. This legislation is useful. It will be of benefit to people in the difficult and terrible position of having their houses repossessed and facing those applications before the courts. We may be able to gain a victory here tonight, be able to state that we managed to get a provision inserted into the Bill and then state that has worked well for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin or the Labour Party. The Minister of State, Deputy Moran, is not a Fine Gael Minister. I am concerned, however, that the passing of this amendment would provide the perfect opportunity for Fine Gael to state that this Bill cannot be enacted because there is a necessity to get further legal advice. Having listened to the Minister of State's last point, and his stance in respect of it, I will not be supporting the amendment. I may abstain but I will not support it. I just wanted to say that so that people have an awareness of where the votes will go, should this amendment be put to a vote.

I want to comment briefly. I am glad that the amendment is not going to be supported by my party. If this was passed then the Bill would have to go back to the Seanad and we would be looking at next October or November before this Bill could be brought back into the Dáil. I compliment the Minister of State for the great deal of work that he has done on this legislation. We will do whatever we can to help stop people's homes being taken from them. We read in recent days that some 3,200 mortgages with Ulster Bank are to be sold off to vulture funds. That is if what we are reading is true.

These are homeowners, in owner-occupied properties, doing their damnedest to try to stay in their properties. They are doing deals with the banks but still finding it difficult to comply with the stringent terms being applied. We will do anything we can in this House and in the other House to try to help people who are struggling. I am referring to genuine people living in their homes and doing their damnedest to try to keep those homes. They are working extremely hard to try to meet the demands of the banks. We should be doing anything we can to help. This is a step in the right direction but not the full journey. It would be detrimental to delay this Bill passing until next October or November.

We have to talk about this Bill in the context of what it means for the owners of family homes. Taking the announcement today from Ulster Bank regarding its plans to sell a €900 million loan book with 3,200 homes, we can safely state that common sense dictates that if a property goes into receivership, then that is a precursor to taking possession of the property. This amendment merely seeks to provide some sort of a buttress to protect further the family home and it is in keeping with the original spirit of the Bill. It just seeks to add another piece of equipment or another tool to the Bill to protect the homeowner. I understand the spirt of where the Minister of State is coming from regarding his intention in respect of the Bill. We have, however, the ability within this House to fast track legislation if we so wish. I do not think that using the defence of an undue delay in regard to the legislation is adequate.

The amendment should be considered further, particularly as it and what it seeks to do stand up to scrutiny.

I appreciate from where the Deputies are coming. While I understand what Deputy Ó Laoghaire is seeking to do, this Bill has been three years in the making. Many Deputies have stated that the Government has been slow to act and help people who are in mortgage arrears. This Bill addresses that issue. As Deputy O'Callaghan stated, the amendment would delay the Bill. If we are lucky and get it through tonight, however, there is nothing to stop us from adding to it in future. I stated that in the Seanad and on Committee Stage. This is important legislation that many people are seeking.

Amendment put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 28; Níl, 43; Staon, 25.

  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Collins, Joan.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Fitzmaurice, Michael.
  • Healy-Rae, Danny.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kelly, Alan.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Sherlock, Sean.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.

Níl

  • Bailey, Maria.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Daly, Jim.
  • Deering, Pat.
  • Doherty, Regina.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Mitchell O'Connor, Mary.
  • Moran, Kevin Boxer.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Neville, Tom.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • O'Connell, Kate.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Staon

  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Brassil, John.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Casey, Pat.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Curran, John.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Lawless, James.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Murphy O'Mahony, Margaret.
  • Murphy, Eugene.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Keeffe, Kevin.
  • O'Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Smith, Brendan.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire and Sean Sherlock; Níl, Deputies Seán Kyne and Tony McLoughlin.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment No. 3:

In page 3, to delete lines 19 to 21 and substitute the following:

“ “2A. (1) This section applies to any proceedings brought by a mortgagee, irrespective of when the mortgage was created, seeking an order for possession of land to which the mortgage relates and which land is land to which section 2 applies—”.

This amendment, which was previously discussed at length on Committee Stage, proposes the insertion of a new section 2A into section 2 of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2013. It is not clear that the relevant provision of the Bill applies retrospectively. Sinn Féin believes that the amendment is essential to avoid potential challenges to the legislation on the basis that it is not retrospective. We believe that those seeking to repossess homes will argue that this section does not apply retrospectively. Free Legal Advice Centres, FLAC, also reached that conclusion. We do not know exactly how many people are in mortgage arrears and in fear of repossession, but there may be as many as 12,000 or more. The key purpose of the Bill and, I am sure, the intention of the Minister of State, Deputy Boxer Moran, is to provide protections for those people. He stated that such protections are contained in the Bill but I am not convinced that is the case. The amendment aims to provide certainty in that regard and ensure that any potential court challenges arguing that the provision does not apply retrospectively are minimised by clearly stating in the section that it applies to all repossession proceedings.

I intend to take amendments Nos. 3 and 4 together.

The Government is opposing these amendments. The intention behind the amendments is unclear and seems to be based on the desire that the Bill should have retrospective effect. Amendment No. 3 proposes the insertion of "any proceedings brought by a mortgagee, irrespective of when the mortgage was created". I consider the amendment unnecessary since it is clear from the current wording that the section applies to any and all proceedings brought by a mortgagee for possession of land to which section 2 applies. The amendment adds nothing. On the contrary, by departing from the existing words in section 2(2), it seems to suggest that the range of mortgages to which section 2A applies is somehow wider than the range to which section 2 applies. There is a danger that the amendment will create uncertainty in respect of the scope of the Bill. The wording is inconsistent with the wording of section 2(2) of the 2013 Act. Any revision in the manner suggested by the amendment could create confusion over the scope of the existing section 2(2) of the 2013 Act. This is the reason we are opposing the amendment.

I cannot think of a single instance of how the amendment might create confusion or any two sets of circumstances where one provision could be argued to be in conflict with the other. The Minister of State seems to be suggesting the effect of the wording corresponds to "any and all" and we are saying it applies to all mortgage cases regardless of when they were created. That seems to be the situation the Minister of State is suggesting. The advice we have received, and the view of Free Legal Advice Centres, is that we are uncertain the legislation would be immune from court challenge unless we provide for it to apply retrospectively.

It is worth remembering that a great deal of legislation does not apply retrospectively. It is difficult to make legislation apply retrospectively. The fact that the Bill does not state this clearly, concisely and frankly is a concern for us. We believe it needs to be rectified. I cannot think of a single set of circumstances in which one provision could be argued to be contrary to the other. We will be pressing the amendment. It is important for the provision to apply retrospectively.

I want to come in on this issue because my colleague, Deputy Ó Laoghaire, is raising an important issue. I am raising the matter with the insight drawn from my No Consent, No Sale Bill, which is receiving scrutiny at the Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach. The purpose of that Bill is to prevent banks from selling loans to vultures without the consent of the borrower. We were given clear advice as a result of case law that legislation intending to apply retrospectively must state explicitly that it is intended to apply retrospectively. That is based on case law and a court ruling. The presumption by the courts is that if that is not done, then it will be presumed not to apply even though the language may suggest that it does. The issues being raised need to be taken on board.

I wish to take this opportunity to commend the driving force behind this Bill, namely, my colleague, the Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Boxer Moran. In fairness to him, he has built his political career by being in tune with and responsive to the people he serves in his communities.

I agree wholeheartedly with the Bill. Repossession of family homes should absolutely be in every instance the last resort. I do not believe the legislation requires amendments Nos. 3 or 4. The Bill, as it stands, fits perfectly well with existing Government initiatives designed to assist people who are in mortgage distress. Some of the initiatives we have already undertaken include the Abhaile scheme and the Personal Insolvency Act, which has modernised the regime for personal insolvency and brought Ireland in line with best international practice. This legislation will fit perfectly alongside the laws the House has already passed. I commend the Bill to the House.

The issue here is clear. I welcome the Bill - the Minster of State knows that. The Government needs to deal with this issue properly because the intention of the Bill, as put forward by the Minister of State, is for it to apply retrospectively. In Bupa Ireland v. The Health Insurance Authority and Others Mr. Justice Murray stated: "Again, where the Legislature is enacting provisions, however sound the reasons for them may be, which have potentially serious implications for legal rights, including constitutional rights, of persons or corporations, one must expect that the intended ambit or application of such provisions will be expressed in the legislation with reasonable clarity." That relates to the retrospective nature of legislation. There has to be clarity. This has already been adjudicated on by the courts. I say as much because the legislation I drafted intends to be applied retrospectively just as this legislation does. However, this legislation does not state as much with clarity. Given the court rulings on previous occasions there is a serious question, to say the least, over the retrospective nature of it.

With that in mind, given that we are on Report Stage and the intention is that it would act retrospectively, the submission by Deputy Ó Laoghaire should be listened to and taken on board by Government.

I commend the Minister of State, Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran, on bringing this important issue before the House. The protection of the right of people to be in their homes and everything that can be done to enhance the protection of family homes are terribly important.

I truly appreciate the amendments proposed by different Members of the House, but I have a concern about the amendments. While they are well-thought-out and genuine in thrust, the question of whether they will delay the Bill arises. This legislation is so important. I do not want to say it should be rushed through the House because rushed legislation is sometimes not good legislation, but this Bill is good in its entirety. If there are to be amendments, I am not keen for the Bill delayed too long. The people in their homes will benefit from the protection that this legislation would afford. That is what I would like to see.

I thank the Minister of State genuinely on behalf of the people I represent and the people who might be affected positively by this legislation being enacted. I thank him for doing this because it means a great deal. It is like everything in life: if it only helped one person, would it not be a big thing? That is not to mind the number of people it will help. If it only helped one family, would it not be a good day's work by us? We know it will obviously help a great many people. It would be wrong not to thank the Minister of State and his staff for preparing the legislation and bringing it before the House. It deserves to be supported. I know that the amendments are being put forward with nothing but good intentions, and I appreciate that. I do not want to be taking up time save to say those few words.

I reckon everyone here shares the same objective. What happens when a court comes to consider the new section 2A of the 2013 Act? The legislation, as drafted at present, seems fairly clear to me. The proposed section 2A(1) states: "This section applies to proceedings brought by a mortgagee seeking an order for possession of land to which the mortgage relates and which land is land to which section 2 applies". Any judge hearing an application under this section will say it does not matter whether the mortgage was made after the enactment of the legislation. What planet would judges think we are living on if we introduced legislation to deal with the difficult situation that people face where there are applications for repossession of their properties? That is not a perspective issue we need to deal with in the context of future mortgages. It is clearly to deal with existing mortgages. For that reason I do not think it is necessary to amend it. I understand the point Deputy Ó Laoghaire is making.

I can appreciate that its purpose is to ensure clarity, but I would be astonished if a Circuit Court judge, or any judge hearing an application, told someone whose house was being repossessed that the legislation did not apply to him or her because the mortgage was created before its enactment. I am also concerned that inserting language such as "irrespective of when the mortgage was created" could have an impact on other legislation which clearly apply to mortgages created before their enactment. Financial institutions could then potentially claim that other legislation does not apply to mortgages that existed prior to its enactment because it does not have the words "irrespective of when the mortgage was created" in it.

I acknowledge the point Deputy Ó Laoghaire is making. However, on balance, I am concerned because I think there is politics behind this as well. The Minister of State, Deputy Moran, has done well to get this legislation through, and I do not think he has the universal support of all members of the Government in that, the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Deputy Regina Doherty, excluded. I would be concerned that if an amendment is made to this Bill, the more powerful side of the Government will say it has to be looked at again, and it will hand it back to the Attorney General and delay it. This relates to the whole section because it is on the first part, section 2A(1), so while I accept the points that have been made, Fianna Fáil will be abstaining on this.

I compliment the Minister of State, Deputy Moran, on bringing this Bill forward. We spoke about it many times, but in fairness to him, he got it through the back corridors, through Committee Stage and so on, fairly quickly, and I compliment him on that. Deputy O'Callaghan, in fairness to him, is trained in looking at this type of legislation while many of us are not. Everybody puts down amendments in good faith because they may see a flaw, and they are fully entitled to do so. That is an important feature. We have to make sure legislation is right, but we also need to ensure that it moves on as quickly as possible for the people, providing that it is correct. If it saves even one family, then it has been a help.

There is a danger that the amendment will create uncertainty in relation to the scope of the Bill. The current wording is based on the wording in section 2(2) of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2013. Amending this provision in the manner suggested could create confusion as to the scope of the existing section 2(2) of the 2013 Act.

A few issues have been raised. Deputy O'Callaghan noted how a judge might react if this legislation were to come before him or her. However, we should think first of the lawyer who might take a case on behalf of a bank or vulture fund, and how he or she would potentially argue it. A judge has to take a number of things into consideration when evaluating legislation. First and foremost is the text and letter of the legislation. However, there is also previous jurisprudence, and much of the previous jurisprudence says that if legislation is to be retrospective, it has to explicitly say so. This legislation does not explicitly say so. There is a presumption against retrospectivity. That sounds like a strong enough case for a lawyer to make to me. I am sure judges can also take the intention of the legislature into account. However, as far as I am concerned, it is a strong factor that a barrister advising a bank or vulture fund might tell them that there is an avenue to argue that a particular repossession case does not fall within the legislation.

I take the points Deputies Michael Healy-Rae and Fitzmaurice made regarding the Minister of State's good intentions on board. I respect that, and this is decent legislation. I acknowledge the good motivations from which the Minister of State works, and I hope the legislation achieves its intended outcome. However, we are trying to get this Bill through to ensure it helps people, and we are tabling this amendment because we are not sure the Bill applies to all the people we think it should apply to, namely, the tens of thousands of people facing repossession. We are not confident of that, and if we are proven to be correct in our concerns, then this legislation is unfortunately not worth a great deal. This could be rectified relatively easily by making it explicitly clear that the legislation applies retrospectively, and the reasons that have been given for not adopting this amendment seem weak. The Minister of State is essentially saying that the text does not fall within the exact structure the Department of Justice and Equality generally likes. The wording of the amendment is crystal clear that this legislation would apply to all mortgages regardless of when they were created. We need that clarity in order to ensure the tens of thousands of people we want this legislation to protect are covered by it.

Amendment put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 29; Níl, 45; Staon, 19.

  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Collins, Joan.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Healy-Rae, Danny.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kelly, Alan.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • O'Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Sherlock, Sean.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.

Níl

  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Daly, Jim.
  • Deering, Pat.
  • Doherty, Regina.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Fitzmaurice, Michael.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Healy-Rae, Michael.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Mitchell O'Connor, Mary.
  • Moran, Kevin Boxer.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Neville, Tom.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • O'Connell, Kate.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Staon

  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Brassil, John.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Casey, Pat.
  • Curran, John.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Murphy O'Mahony, Margaret.
  • Murphy, Eugene.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Keeffe, Kevin.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Smith, Brendan.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire and Sean Sherlock; Níl, Deputies Seán Kyne and Tony McLoughlin.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment No. 4:

In page 3, line 19, after "to" to insert "any".

Amendment put and declared lost.
Bill received for final consideration.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

Boxer Moran wants a minute and I think he deserves it.

Before I came into the Dáil three years ago, I met so many people out there. I came in here with no legal background in bringing forward legislation but when I met so many people who found themselves in mortgage arrears, I felt I had to do something. I came in here to get the support of the House, not only on this Bill but on my previous Bill, and I thank each and every Member from the bottom of my heart. I thank the Members also on behalf of the people who have knocked on our doors or come into our clinics who need support in legislation like this.

I note Sinn Féin tabled amendments and we ruled them out. I feared a delay on the Bill. The people I represent and those I have met over the past three years have constantly emphasised getting this Bill passed in the House to help them in the future.

I particularly thank those who helped me write the Bill: my political adviser, Mr. Eugene Deering, Dr. Padraic Kenna and also the solicitor, Ms Julie Sadlier.

I thank the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Flanagan, for his support over recent months - I mean that sincerely - to get this Bill through the House. It means a great deal. I also thank the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Deputy Regina Doherty, who as then Government Whip helped me bring the Bill to where it is today.

I thank our colleagues on the other side of the House. I appreciate Deputy O'Callaghan's support over the past number of months.

As I say, this is my second piece of legislation, but just to let the House know I have a third piece on the way.

Show the Minister, Deputy Ross, how to do it.

There is no provision for conferring a doctorate.

Question put and agreed to.

A message will be sent to the Seanad acquainting it accordingly.

Sitting suspended at 7.55 p.m. and resumed at 8 p.m.