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 Header Item Residential Tenancies (Greater Security of Tenure and Rent Certainty) Bill 2018: Second Stage [Private Members] (Continued)
 Header Item Residential Tenancies (Greater Security of Tenure and Rent Certainty) Bill 2018: Referral to Select Committee [Private Members]
 Header Item Message from Seanad Éireann
 Header Item Business of Dáil
 Header Item Education (Admission to Schools) Bill 2016: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 969 No. 8

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin] Not only did it incentivise the private sector to build houses and create a boom, it also hollowed out the capacity of local authorities. In 2014, when we had our first few bob, I allocated it to housing as our very first measure because it was the number one social priority. That was four years ago. I was told quickly that the local authorities did not have the capacity to build the houses and I had to immediately allocate additional staffing. I had to alter the restriction on employment to housing departments because they had not got housing officers in the same way as they had for decades previously, and we are only getting to that stage now. There was a lag because of the policies that were developed over time.

Now let us recognise, as I thought we did across this House, that the biggest social challenge we face - there will be Brexit and other issues - as a community and as a nation is housing. There are too many people with no certainty about the roof they have over their heads and too many young people almost abandoning the notion that they will ever be able to afford to own their own house. Let us do something about it collectively. For God's sake, let Deputies stop scoring points off one another, with them running in here for five minutes, making a few mumbled charges and running out again solves no problems for anybody. Let us try to collectively allocate the resources - it is our constitutional role to Vote money - agree on the plan and, in the interim, when we need to solve the big issue which is the supply-side issue, utilise the landbanks we have, utilise the money we have available and the capacity within the local authorities and other State agencies and agree to quickly embrace proposals like those put forward by Deputy Jan O'Sullivan to ease the burden now on those in the rented sector so that they do not face rent hikes above the CPI.

Members come in here stating we should halve rents.

Deputy Darragh O'Brien: Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien It is nonsense.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin They know that is nonsense. It is a lovely soundbite but unconstitutional and unfeasible. It is not real. People need real solutions. If we embrace the measures we have here to give security of tenure to tenants and to give security to landlords too in a balanced way in order that they can invest in properties and bring unused properties back into use and at the same time invest heavily in the landbank and the resources we have to ramp up on the scale Deputy Joan Burton talked about, then we will have done a great social good collectively. Let us bend our will and our efforts collectively to do that, stop talking about doing it and get on with actually doing it. It is worrying, quite frankly, that despite the cross-party housing strategy, endless proposals and motions and Bills in this House, we seem unable to get on top of this issue. Let us ensure collectively that this is our social priority and that we find a solution.

  Question put and agreed to.

Residential Tenancies (Greater Security of Tenure and Rent Certainty) Bill 2018: Referral to Select Committee [Private Members]

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl As this is a Private Members' Bill, it must, under Standing Orders 84A and 141, be referred to a select committee. The relevant select committee for this Bill is the Select Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government.

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 Éireann

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Seanad Éireann has passed the Radiological Protection (Amendment) Bill 2018 without amendment.

Business of Dáil

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I understand the Government Chief Whip has a proposal for an alteration in the business tomorrow arising out of the request that we had earlier today on the Order of Business.

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh Notwithstanding yesterday's Order of Business, it is proposed that the Dáil shall take statements on a fatal road traffic collision in County Monaghan in 2011 tomorrow after the sos; the statements shall conclude within 80 minutes, if not previously concluded, and shall be confined to a single round, by a Minister or Minister of State and the main spokespersons for parties or groups or a Member nominated in their stead, of not more than ten minutes each, and all Members may share time; and the order shall resume thereafter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is that proposal agreed to? Agreed.

Education (Admission to Schools) Bill 2016: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage

Bill recommitted in respect of amendments Nos. 1 and 2.

  Debate resumed on amendment No. 2:

In page 3, line 16, after “school,” to insert the following:

“to amend section 7 of the Equal Status Act 2000 in relation to its application to recognised primary schools, to further amend that Act to provide for the application for admission to recognised primary schools by students of minority religions;”.
                                                                                                                                                                       - (Minister for Education and Skills)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I think we had concluded our consideration of amendment No. 2 in the name of the Minister and the related amendments.

  Amendment agreed to.

  Bill reported with amendments.

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I move amendment No. 3:

In page 3, lines 16 to 18, to delete all words from and including "the" where it secondly occurs in line 16 down to and including "2004," in line 18 and substitute the following:
"the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004 and the Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007,".

Amendment No. 3 is a proofing amendment to ensure that the Long Title reflects the fact that the Bill repeals sections 4 and 6 of the Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007. The reference to that Act was inadvertently not included in the original Long Title of the Bill.

  Amendment agreed to.

  Amendment No. 4 not moved.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Amendments Nos. 5, 6, 30, 31, 69, 89, 104, 105 and 139 are related and may be discussed together. While we await Deputy Boyd Barrett, are there any contributions on any of these amendments?

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton My amendment No. 69 amends the provision of the Bill which requires schools to set out their arrangements for children who wish to opt out of religious instruction classes to provide that such arrangements will not involve any reduction in the school day for the children concerned.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Are there any other amendments in this group that anybody wishes to raise?

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I ask the Minister to clarify how schools will be advised as to how this will operate. Will the Minister agree to provide schools with the additional resources? At present, if pupils opt out, often they go somewhere, such as a library or, worse still, maybe to a corridor, or they sit at the back of the class. Parents affected by this have made it clear that they do not want their children in this invidious position.

There has also been many references in the Bill to religious instruction taking place either at the beginning or at the end of the day. We heard that, particularly from some of the groups which came in and addressed the committee. What I am concerned about is whether the Minister will clarify what resources he will put into this? The organisation of this will take considerable resources. It would be better to leave it to the after-school period or to have it early in the school day so that it would involve the minimum disruption.

Many children dislike being left out of what is seen to be an activity of the school. It can be quite invidious and quite alienating for them to be left out, and parents also find it so. It is necessary for the Department of Education and Skills to make it clear to schools that there ought to be discussions in schools about how this sensitive issue is dealt with. One should bear in mind that in many schools in Dublin West, as in many areas around Dublin, there are the 70 to 90 flags of different countries which pupils come from. Many of our schools, at both primary and second level, have 1,000 pupils.


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