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 Header Item Housing (Homeless Families) Bill 2017: Second Stage [Private Members] (Continued)
 Header Item Housing (Homeless Families) Bill 2017: Referral to Select Committee [Private Members]
 Header Item Message from Seanad
 Header Item Estimates for Public Services 2017: Messages from Select Committees
 Header Item Diplomatic Relations (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017: Order for Report Stage
 Header Item Diplomatic Relations (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017: Report and Final Stages
 Header Item Health and Social Care Professionals (Amendment) Bill 2017: Order for Report Stage

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 961 No. 5

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin] These are things we can and should fix. I will not mention some of the comments made over the past number of days which others have referenced. The Minister of State is a quintessentially decent person, but it is unfortunate that there was a confluence of commentary which seemed to minimise what everybody agrees is the biggest social issue we have to overcome. If we are seen to somehow seek to make it normal or whatever the unfortunate phrase was, it is simply that - unfortunate. Let us put that behind us now and have a consensus in the House that the biggest social issue this Oireachtas has to resolve has two subsets, namely, the homelessness issue and the housing issue. We have the financial wherewithal to do it, but we must insist on it being done.

It is the Minister of State's job to say nice things about the local authorities, which, by and large, are good. However, they are not uniformly good. Some are better than others and some are not building the local authority houses they should be. I was pleased to hear the leader of the Fianna Fáil Party instance my own county as the most successful house builder this year, but we need to ensure that the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government insists that a quota is set and the houses are built by each local authority. We heard Deputy Connolly talk about staffing. If there are individual issues, let us address them case by case in an open manner so that no one can hide behind an issue. These are fundamentally important issues.

I return in the last two and a half minutes I have to the Bill before us. Our job is to find solutions, as I said. We have proposed solutions to the House before. The last housing Bill Deputy Jan O'Sullivan produced in the House dealt with a number of things. We should be bold and revisit that. It is unfortunate that the Government decided not to support the Bill. Fianna Fáil did not support it either and it died. However, it had three important components. First was the implementation of the Kenny report after decades to control the price of building land. If we do not do that, we will head into another crisis. I have listened to learned legal opinion that this is a constitutional issue which would require a referendum. My view is a simple one. Let us do it and, if someone wants to take a constitutional challenge, off with them. We can then determine the matter. Can we just legislate for the Kenny report? I ask the Minister of State to do that.

Why not have uniform rent controls across the country until the supply side issue is addressed? The supply side issue must be addressed and it will be. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Simon Coveney, who is just joining us, started the process himself in pulling together an all-party consensus. Until it is done, why not have a national strategy on rent controls which ties rent increases to the consumer price index as an interim measure until supply is normalised? That is not an unreasonable expectation or demand. The control of the price of building land and giving tenants certainty could stabilise problems that manifest themselves in terrible hardship until such time as we solve the problem. From the time I started talking about this in government, we have all known that everything we do in terms of schemes or plans are ancillary to the main objective of providing sufficient houses. That is done simply by requiring local authorities to do what they did for generations, namely, build more local authority houses.

  Question put and agreed to.

Housing (Homeless Families) Bill 2017: Referral to Select Committee [Private Members]

Deputy Jan O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan I move:

That the Bill be referred to the Select Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government pursuant to Standing Orders 84A(3)(a) and 141.

  Question put and agreed to.

Message from Seanad

Acting Chairman (Deputy Declan Breathnach): Information on Declan Breathnach Zoom on Declan Breathnach Seanad Éireann has passed the Water Services Bill 2017, without amendment.

Estimates for Public Services 2017: Messages from Select Committees

Acting Chairman (Deputy Declan Breathnach): Information on Declan Breathnach Zoom on Declan Breathnach The Select Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government has completed its consideration of the following Revised Estimate for public services for the service of the year ending 31 December 2017 - Vote 34.

  The Select Committee on Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has completed its consideration of the following Revised Estimate for public services for the service of the year ending 31 December 2017 - Vote 33.

Diplomatic Relations (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017: Order for Report Stage

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I move: "That Report Stage be taken now."

  Question put and agreed to.

Diplomatic Relations (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017: Report and Final Stages

  Bill received for final consideration and passed.

Health and Social Care Professionals (Amendment) Bill 2017: Order for Report Stage

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I move: "That Report Stage be taken now."

  This Bill is relatively short and technical containing a total of nine sections. It passed Committee Stage on 11 July last, without amendment. The Bill will amend the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 and has three main purposes. It will address gaps that have been identified relating to the appointment of professional members to the Health and Social Care Professionals Council and to registration boards.


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