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 Header Item Order of Business (Continued)
 Header Item Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill 2015: First Stage

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 900 No. 1

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Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis Plans are being worked out on the harmonisation of penalty points between the North and South of our country. An agreement between the UK and here on how this should be implemented is at an advanced stage. The road traffic Bill 2015 is intended to address this. When will it be introduced? Will it be before the Government gives way over the next while?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The next North-South Ministerial Council is on Friday. Following the Stormont House Agreement, we are committed to dealing with criminality and lawlessness on both sides of the Border through a variety of mechanisms, including this.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan Have the heads of the criminal procedure Bill on pre-trial procedures been cleared and is it likely to come before the House at an early stage? The mediation Bill is important proposed legislation. Have the heads of the mediation Bill been cleared and will the Bill come before the House in the near future?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The criminal procedure Bill was cleared in April and the mediation Bill was also cleared, but it will be next year.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan To follow up on Deputy Ellis's point on the road traffic Bill, which deals with drug driving, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport said it would definitely be passed before Christmas. As such, only a few days are left. Is there a priority list of legislation vis-à-vis a couple of other important Bills mentioned this morning? Is there a priority list for the Ministers opposite of Bills that will be passed before they go to the country a few weeks after Christmas? Most importantly, is the road traffic Bill one of them?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny It is going to Cabinet next week and it will certainly be published. We have a lot of complaints about rushing legislation through, but I expect that if it comes to Cabinet next week and is approved, it will be published.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan What about the others? What about the priority list?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny There is a packed agenda there.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath That is gone away with the flood.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl We now move on to the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill 2015. I call Deputy Mattie McGrath.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews I indicated, a Cheann Comhairle.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Resume your seat, please.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews A Cheann Comhairle, this is undemocratic.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Resume your seat. I tell you to resume your seat when I am on my feet.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews I am appealing to the House at this stage.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I am on my feet.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews I am appealing to the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I am on my feet. I will tell you something, when you decide to apologise to the House for your behaviour, not just yesterday, but on other days, totally ignoring the Chair and the rules-----

Deputy Derek Keating: Information on Derek Keating Zoom on Derek Keating Hear, hear.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews A Cheann Comhairle-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Sit down. Please, sit down. After you apologise, I will then call you.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews You ignored me as an elected Member of this House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I did not ignore you.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews You did ignore me. I object to this.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl When you decide to apologise, I will consider calling you.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews Apologise for what?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Your behaviour.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews My behaviour has been absolutely flawless and polite.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Yes. Well, thank you. I call Deputy Mattie McGrath.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews I appeal to the Taoiseach. Taoiseach-----

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I am hearing the Deputy.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews Good.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Sorry, Taoiseach, it is none of your business, with the greatest of respect to you.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews I ask the Taoiseach, who has a majority----

Deputy Derek Keating: Information on Derek Keating Zoom on Derek Keating Address the Ceann Comhairle. We have procedures.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I ask Deputy Mattie McGrath to get on his feet and move his Bill.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews I want to ask the Taoiseach a question.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Deputy Mathews, resume your seat or you will be leaving once again.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews He gave the House an undertaking, as did his Tánaiste, to introduce legislation and have it enacted and operational before Christmas. There are four working days left.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Resume your seat or you will be taking another walk today.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews Please, a Cheann Comhairle, this is just absurd.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl This time you might be out for three days. Resume your seat and when you apologise to the House, I will consider calling you in the future.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews I will apologise to the House if it asks me to apologise.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Thank you. Sit down.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews The House has not asked me to apologise.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Sit down and do not disturb Deputy McGrath. I have called him.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews I am being very fair. This is absurd.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Your behaviour is absurd.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews You ignored a parliamentarian elected to the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I will continue to do so as long as you totally ignore the rules of the House.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews I do not ignore the rules. I have always obeyed them.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl We will leave it for others to decide that.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews Please take a vote on it.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe I would not go that far, Peter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I call Deputy Mattie McGrath.

Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill 2015: First Stage

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

That a Bill entitled an Act to provide that irrespective of the language of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2013 that certain statutory provisions apply to mortgages of a particular class notwithstanding the repeal and amendment of those statutory provisions by the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009, to provide for the adjournment of legal proceedings in certain cases; that section 1 of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2013 be amended in so far as it can be interpreted, that it retroactively deprives a right or entitlement of any person to a plenary process for the determination of whether they stand to be evicted from their principal private residence, and by implication substitute a summary process for eviction; and to provide for related matters.

I thank the Ceann Comhairle for giving me permission to move my Private Members' Bill, the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill 2015. The Bill represents my effort to address the situation regarding home repossessions and the trauma, intimidation and bullying experienced by families, home owners and sometimes people who buy to rent. It has been going on now for six or seven years since the onset of the financial crash. The people of this country have paid a huge price and suffered greatly due to the actions taken, including by me, when we voted to save the banks on that fatal night in September long ago. The people have suffered, put their shoulders to the wheel and been made to pay. It is now time the House and the Department of Finance put some restrictions, as the ECB failed to do, on banks and financial institutions and to make them understand the trauma they are visiting on people in their homes. Families are being put under financial pressure leading to stress, ill health and marital distress and separation. There is a litany of effects the pressure has on people who, in good faith, borrowed to put roofs over their heads. They went out, took the risk, obtained planning in many cases, bought houses, paid their planning fees, paid builders, paid solicitors, paid accountants and paid planning consultants. They owned their own homes and were doing fine paying for them as they intended to pay their mortgages when they were signed until the financial crisis hit and many were made unemployed through no fault of their own. Some self-employed people lost their businesses and could not get any social welfare or other supports. They faced awful trauma.

  The banks were perplexed for a while and moved slowly enough initially, but repossessions started to happen quickly after that. Then Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne, who I salute, found the loophole as it was her duty as a judge to do, and stopped the banks and financial institutions completely in their tracks with one judgment. It was very good because the courts are meant to be fair and free and to protect citizens under the law as well as everybody else. However, the Government, for reasons I do not understand, introduced the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2013 for which all of the Government Deputies voted. In spite of the nice words in which it was couched and despite being dressed up as a support for families, behind its docile name the Act was really what ought to have been called an eviction Bill. Anyone facing the hammer, repossession and eviction, considers that a more appropriate name. In seeking to plug a loophole, the Act put us back to where we were before Ms Justice Dunne's judgment in 2012. The banks could circumvent that loophole and went on their merry way again to threaten, pressurise and intimidate householders.

  It is going on apace. The courts in Clonmel and Nenagh in my county are full and 60 and 70 repossession orders are being made every week. The courts in every county are full of repossession applications. A great deal of trauma is being imposed. Beneath it all is the murky business of receivers and banks selling on repossessed properties for minimal figures only for handsome profits to be made by third parties mere weeks and months later. It is a murky business. I call on the Government not to oppose the Bill and to deal with it at the 99th hour of its five-year tenure. On foot of the mandate it received five years ago, I ask the Government to give some sustenance to home owners and frightened people and to provide them with legal support to fight their cases. Many of them cannot afford that at the moment. I salute the groups out there supporting families, including the Land League. I thank barrister David Langwallner for assisting me in putting this Bill together. It is badly needed. I appeal to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Brendan Howlin, as a member of the Labour Party which was founded in my own town of Clonmel 100 years ago-----

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin It is even more than 100 years.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath -----to be compassionate and to redress this situation. I ask that the Land and Conveyancing Act be repealed and that my Private Member's Bill be accepted.

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

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin 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 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.


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