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 Header Item Order of Business (Continued)
 Header Item Retention of Newborn Screening Cards Bill 2013: First Stage
 Header Item Scrap and Precious Metal Dealers Bill 2013: First Stage
 Header Item EU Regulation on Insolvency Proceedings: Referral to Joint Committee
 Header Item Topical Issue Debate
 Header Item Upward Only Rent Reviews

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 797 No. 3

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  5 o’clock

(Speaker Continuing)

[The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny] Deputy Broughan will have to repeat his second question.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan It was about Priory Hall.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I do not have a date of publication of the criminal justice Bill. In respect of Deputy Brian Stanley's comment-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Do not go there.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny -----I recall that people from his party-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett The Taoiseach is encouraging him.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny -----were miraculously able to get people who had long been laid to rest to vote in different elections.

Deputy Brian Stanley: Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley I ask the Taoiseach to withdraw that remark.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Will the Taoiseach answer Deputy Thomas P. Broughan's question on the other issue?

Deputy Brian Stanley: Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley The evidence shows the opposite.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Will the Deputy please resume his seat? What about Deputy Thomas P. Broughan's question?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny On what?

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan On a resolution at Priory Hall and Mr. Justice Finnegan's-----

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Minister, Deputy Phil Hogan, is dealing with the matter.

(Interruptions).

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan He is not dealing with it; that is the point.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I understand progress is being made.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan Will the Taoiseach look after the issue?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I will advise the Deputy of the progress made.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I call Deputy Bernard J. Durkan. As it is his birthday, I extend my congratulations to him.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan I feel neglected already.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Seeing as it is the Deputy's birthday, I will allow him to speak.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan Have the heads of the employment permits Bill which has been promised been approved by the Cabinet? When is the Bill likely to be brought before the House? Have the heads of the medical capacity Bill, otherwise known as the assisted decision making capacity Bill, an important Bill, been approved or when is it likely that they will be approved? When will the Bill be brought before the House?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The heads of both Bills have been approved. I thought the employment permits Bill might get through this session, but it will not. It will be taken in the next session, as will the mental capacity Bill.

Retention of Newborn Screening Cards Bill 2013: First Stage

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act in the public interest, to amend the Data Protection Act 1988, as amended by the Data Protection Act 2003, to provide for the retention of newborn screening cards, and certain related matters.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Is this Bill opposed?

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe No.

  Question put and agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Since this is a Private Members' Bill, Second Stage must, under Standing Orders, be taken in Private Members' time.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

  Question put and agreed to.

Scrap and Precious Metal Dealers Bill 2013: First Stage

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend the law as it relates to the purchasing, selling, trading, consignment selling, or otherwise transferring for value, more than three times per year, second-hand property that is a precious or scrap metal.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Is this Bill opposed?

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe No.

  Question put and agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Since this is a Private Members' Bill, Second Stage must, under Standing Orders, be taken in Private Members' time.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

  Question put and agreed to.

EU Regulation on Insolvency Proceedings: Referral to Joint Committee

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe I move:

That the proposal that Dáil Éireann approves the exercise by the State of the option or discretion under Protocol No. 21 on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland in respect of the area of freedom, security and justice annexed to the Treaty on European Union and to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, to take part in the adoption and application of the following proposed measure:
proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No. 1346/2000 on insolvency proceedings, 86(2).
a copy of which was laid before Dáil Éireann on 9 January 2013, be referred to the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality, in accordance with Standing Order 82A(4)(j), which, not later than 28 March 2013, shall send a message to the Dáil in the manner prescribed in Standing Order 87, and Standing Order 86(2) shall accordingly apply."

  Question put and agreed to.

Topical Issue Debate

Upward Only Rent Reviews

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary I thank the Ceann Comhairle for allowing us to raise this issue which follows a very significant court judgment yesterday on the lease for Bewley's café on Grafton Street. I recognise there is a specific component in that lease, at which people are looking. However, for the first time, the issue of protection and property rights has been challenged in the courts. This is a chance for us to bring the issue back to the Dáil.

The retail sector has been facing a very significant challenge for the past five years, with which the Minister of State, Deputy John Perry, has been trying to deal. The one area with which many retailers cannot deal is rental costs because of these old-style leases which provide for upward-only rent reviews. That no longer applies to new leases and, in some cases, rents have been negotiated downwards. However, in the majority of cases, that has not been possible. If one takes a walk down any street in any town or city, one will see the consequences of this.

Yesterday Mr. Justice Charleton gave us the opportunity to take action on this issue. What are the Government's plans in this regard? There is a commitment in the programme for Government to address the issue. Before entering government, the Government parties were advised that it was constitutional, but now that they are in government, they have been advised that they cannot proceed because of constitutional issues. The Minister now has the chance to stop hiding behind the constitutional defence. We are due to have referendums-----

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Do me a favour. When the Deputy's party was in government, it did not address the issue.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Catherine Byrne): Information on Catherine Byrne Zoom on Catherine Byrne I am sorry, but Deputy Dara Calleary has the floor.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary We did, actually. We brought forward the legislation. The Minister was very vocal in opposition on so many issues, including this one. He is now in government and had the chance for two years to do something about it, but he has sat on his tail and the retail industry has been left like so many other groups he courted. On this occasion he should be conscious that it is not only me who is raising this issue but also his party chairman and a Deputy of the party with which he is in government.

Deputy Michael McNamara: Information on Michael McNamara Zoom on Michael McNamara I also wish to address the issue of upward-only rent reviews. Fine Gael and the Labour Party, in their pre-election manifestos, promised to tackle this issue, but they were unable to proceed with the envisaged Bill on the advice of the Attorney General. Contrary to what Deputy Dara Calleary said, Mr. Justice Charleton's decision of yesterday which I suggest he read does not question the general principle that banning upward-only rent reviews retrospectively would be unlawful. It deals with a very specific contract, as Mr. Justice Charleton makes very clear. Nevertheless, the difficulty in respect of upward-only rent reviews prevails. Everybody in this Chamber has been canvassing in Meath East. One only has to walk down any high street in Ireland, whether in Kilrush, Ennis or any town in Meath East, to see that many shops are closing. Mr. Justice Charleton specifically deals with the fact that he is not in a position to put himself in the place of the parties and negotiate a better deal for one party, even if that is what should have been negotiated at the time and even if it leads to liquidation, which is the difficulty. Businesses are being liquidated on the basis that they cannot pay their rent. However, after they have been liquidated, somebody else rents the premises and will perhaps pay 50% less. Those located beside that person must compete with somebody else who is paying 50% less. The problem prevails and I urge the Minister for Justice and Equality to consider holding a referendum on the issue. If we can hold a referendum to reduce the pay of judges and abolish the Upper House, I do not see why we cannot hold one to clarify whether we can abolish upward-only rent reviews, even if they have been agreed to before the referendum. I look forward to the Minister's response.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I wish to raise two points. I am not sure I would go down the referendum route. We have discussed this matter on numerous occasions in recent years. However, a case could be made to revisit the issue in the context of Mr. Justice Charleton's judgment yesterday. The current position is unsatisfactory and unfair. We have a two-tier system covering pre-2010 leases which cannot be reviewed and leases post-2010 which cannot contain an upward-only rent review clause. That is unjust and unsatisfactory.


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