Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation (Continued)
 Header Item Data Protection (Amendment) Bill 2018: First Stage
 Header Item Gnó na Dála - Business of Dáil
 Header Item Anti-Evictions Bill 2018: First Stage

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 975 No. 7

First Page Previous Page Page of 77 Next Page Last Page

The Tánaiste: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney This year, an extra €10 million has been announced in respect of improving respite services provision. This additional funding has provided for 12 new respite houses that have opened. When fully operational, the programme will provide an additional 19,000 overnights and 2,520 home-sharing nights annually. These services are getting a lot more money and new facilities are opening up. I accept, however, that there are parts of the country where respite services are not what they need to be. I will ask the Minister of State, Deputy Finian McGrath, to come back to both Deputies on the matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl That concludes questions on promised legislation. My apologies to the seven Deputies who have not been reached.

Data Protection (Amendment) Bill 2018: First Stage

Deputy Jim O'Callaghan: Information on Jim O'Callaghan Zoom on Jim O'Callaghan I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend the Data Protection Act 2018 in order to protect a child's personal data from being processed for marketing purposes and to provide for related matters.

I know the mere mention of data protection legislation will send shivers down the spines of most Deputies. I am pleased to say that the Data Protection (Amendment) Bill 2018 proposes only one amendment to one section of the legislation that was enacted by the Houses of the Oireachtas earlier this year. The section the Bill seeks to amend, or rather to replace, is section 30. The version of section 30 that was enacted deals with the micro-targeting and profiling of children. It provides expressly that it would be an offence under the Act for any company or corporate body to process the personal data of a child as defined by section 29 for the purposes of direct marketing, profiling or micro-targeting.

  The purpose of section 30, as enacted, is to protect children from being marketed junk food and drinks. The total lifetime cost of childhood obesity in Ireland is estimated to be approximately €4.6 billion. In addition, there is a significant problem with the number of children experiencing childhood obesity. At present, research estimates that 55,000 children currently living in Ireland and 85,000 on the island of Ireland will die prematurely due to being overweight or obese. We note research by the World Obesity Federation which predicts that, by 2025, up to 141,000 schoolchildren in Ireland will be overweight or obese and as many as 9,000 will have impaired glucose intolerance. The consequences of childhood obesity are significant, not just for the individual child as he or she develops into adulthood but also for the healthcare system.

  The purpose of section 30 is to deal with that problem. However, the Minister for Justice and Equality did not commence the section as a result of advice he received from the Office of the Attorney General to the effect that it is incompatible with the general data protection regulation, GDPR. There are two concerns in this regard. The section, as enacted, expands upon the permitted restrictions to the processing of personal data. There was a concern that the term "micro-targeting" was non-specific and undefined and that, consequently, people who were committing an offence did not know the specific nature of that offence and that, as a result, the provision would be unfair on them. The Office of the Attorney General wrote to the European Commission outlining its concerns and asked it for its views regarding the compatibility of section 30 of the Act. The Office of the Attorney General confirmed that the section would not be brought into effect until such time as it received information and advice from the Commission.

  We note that advice was provided by the European Commission which clarified that, as set out in recital 38 of the GDPR, children merit special protection, particularly where the personal data of children are being used for marketing or creating personality-of-user profiles. The letter confirmed that while direct marketing to children is a permissible activity under the GDPR, this provision must be balanced by the interests of fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject, which require protection of personal data, especially where the data subject is a child. Consequently, the processing of personal data of a child for the purposes of direct marketing is not unlawful.

  The purpose of the Bill is to introduce a new wording for section 30, which seeks to overcome the concerns identified by the Office of the Attorney General and to take into account the advice presented by the European Commission. The wording is consistent with the wording of Article 22 of the GDPR and the rights and restrictions it introduces. It removes the reference to there being "an offence" and replaces it with the word "unlawful", and it will make it easier for a data subject to vindicate his or her rights under the Data Protection Act. It also removes any debate as to whether an offence has been lawfully created. The Bill proposes to amend section 30 of the Data Protection Act so that we can seek to give effect to the protection that no doubt everyone in the House believes should apply to protect children from micro-targeting, particularly in the context of junk food and junk drinks.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is the Bill opposed?

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan No.

  Question put and agreed to.

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

Deputy Jim O'Callaghan: Information on Jim O'Callaghan Zoom on Jim O'Callaghan I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

  Question put and agreed to.

Gnó na Dála - Business of Dáil

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Seán Kyne): Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne It is proposed notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders that item No. 20a, motion re amendment of resolution appointing Mr. Justice Seán Ryan to the disclosures tribunal, shall be taken without debate immediately following item No. 20, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund Regulations 2018.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is that agreed?

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger No.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith We want to call a vote on that last one.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin This is just a proposal on the business of the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl It is a proposal to take the motion which was already agreed earlier at the Business Committee. The Deputies can vote against that motion when it is put.

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger So we will be voting on it. That is fine.

Deputy Paul Murphy: Information on Paul Murphy Zoom on Paul Murphy We are very eager to vote against the Government.

Deputy Michael Creed: Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed Let the hare sit.

  Question put and agreed to.

Anti-Evictions Bill 2018: First Stage

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 to provide for greater security of tenure by extending tenancy rights for those with a licence to reside in student specific accommodation; by the inclusion of receivers and lenders that have taken possession of properties in the definition of a landlord; by the extension of notice periods for termination of new tenancies; by making all tenancies over two months Part 4 tenancies; by making Part 4 tenancies of indefinite duration; by removing sale of property as a ground for terminating a tenancy; by providing for compensation where a tenancy is terminated on the ground that the dwelling is required by the landlord or a relative of the landlord for their own occupation; by removing renovation and refurbishment as a ground for termination of a tenancy; and by the extension of notice periods for new rents and for the termination of tenancies.

Solidarity-PBP is taking the unusual step of reintroducing, with some new measures, a Bill that was previously rejected by the Dáil in January 2017. We are hoping the Government, Fianna Fáil and others will have seen that the housing and homelessness crisis has become such an epidemic that it is now necessary to undertake these measures. The Bill is urgently required to prevent many of the cases of homelessness that we are now seeing. Homelessness has increased by 57.4% since this Government came into office. The shameful figure of 10,000 homeless in emergency accommodation is widely known. However, the much larger effects of hidden homelessness and the ongoing ripple of homelessness for everybody is also very important.

  The solution to the housing and homelessness crisis is of course the building on public land of thousands of new public homes that are affordable for people to buy or rent. Doing so would take people off the waiting lists and make homes available to the thousands of families struggling with rent and unable to get mortgage approval. This Bill aims to put a bandage on the haemorrhage to stop the ongoing evictions that are taking place. On 26 May, the Irish Independent outlined the main reasons for terminations of tenancies. Some 36% are because a landlord is selling; 16% because a family member is moving in; and 10% due to renovation. If passed, the Bill will give tenants the right to remain in a property if it is being sold. It would allow a tenancy continue in the case of renovation and would require compensation to be paid to a tenant where a property is required for family use, hopefully to act as a deterrent for abuse of that aspect of the law. The chief executive of Threshold has said many landlords are abusing the legislation to hike up rent yields by using "fake sale", or by falsely saying there is a family member moving in or that there is a need for renovations. They are called dubious terminations. These are not just loopholes; the Dáil has been made well aware of them and has refused to close them. They need to be closed.


Last Updated: 09/03/2020 12:07:55 First Page Previous Page Page of 77 Next Page Last Page