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 Header Item Anti-Evictions Bill 2018: Second Stage [Private Members] (Continued)
 Header Item Aircraft Noise (Dublin Airport) Regulation Bill 2018: Order for Second Stage
 Header Item Aircraft Noise (Dublin Airport) Regulation Bill 2018: Second Stage

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 976 No. 5

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Paul Murphy: Information on Paul Murphy Zoom on Paul Murphy] The Minister of State can see what is happening with the yellow vest protest in France, a revolt from below of the oppressed against the president of the rich, Macron, forcing him back and forcing concessions, some of them which have been given but which are inadequate and which are rightly seen by people as being crumbs. The movement continues and has the potential to force him out of office. We need a movement like the yellow vests here on the issue of housing, with young people and students to the fore. We have raised the idea of a national students' strike, occupations of campuses, and raising the struggle nationally on a higher plain. There is also the question of regional and national demonstrations in the new year and, crucially, the role of the trade unions and ICTU in putting their full weight behind those demonstrations, not only in mobilising people but in building for industrial action, perhaps starting with the idea of lunchtime action or half-day action and moving to a one-day general strike on the issue of housing to show the Government the power of working class people who want action on the housing crisis.

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger Every time we put forward proposals that would give security to those who are renting the usual two arguments are thrown out, one of which is that landlords will exit the sector, which I want to address first. There has been a 75% increase in the number of landlords in this country since 2008 and a 1.5% decrease in their number in recent years mainly because of obsolescence and the fact that nothing is being built. As for the idea that we are short of landlords, where would these landlords go? Would they leave the country carrying the houses on their backs? No, they would either leave them vacant and thereby not get any income from them or they would sell them in which case the house would be an addition to the market in dealing with the shortage of supply. I do not understand that argument.

The other argument is that this is unconstitutional. The Government would not let us insert the right to housing in the Constitution when we introduced a Bill only a short time ago. It would not accept any threat to private property rights. The case of the Tyrrelstown tenants was said to be unconstitutional but suddenly it was constitutional and the Government came around to the introduction of RPZs. The point is that enough pressure needs to put on the Government to bring in the type of legislation that is necessary. This proposal has been put forward by Focus Ireland, which is hardly a revolutionary socialist organisation, and many others.

This is the brutal logic of capitalism now. Landlords must retain their divine right to evict families over any other consideration, despite a housing emergency. Profit is the only law that matters. This is ideological on the Minister of State's part. We have the public land. Mel Reynolds told us that NAMA and the councils have enough land to build 114,000 public houses. We certainly have the resources and the money. I can give countless examples to support that. The richest 18 people in this country have €60 billion net worth. We could build 400,000 houses with that alone. We know the Government found €1 billion in the corporate tax take that it did not know it was going to get. There is a great deal of money for this.

The Minister has talked about undersupply. He is bringing in two big investment companies to Cherrywood to build 3,000 housing units for rent. They will be unaffordable for families and tenants who need them. The State will end up putting people in them and paying HAP, RAS, and a rake of other corporate welfare payments. Why would the State not build those? That is what the State used to do.

Deputy Damien English: Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English It is building houses.

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger The State now builds virtually nothing. It built 351 local authority houses in the first six months of this year and 150 for housing agencies, which amounts to 500 houses. That is not a programme; that is a housing estate.

Deputy Damien English: Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English There will be 4,000.

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger I live in a housing estate of 700. The idea that that is a programme is a joke. What is at the root of this? Public lands should be 100% public housing to rent or to buy. If the construction industry was taken under State control and we set up a State building agency, we could build affordable housing. Deputy Barry wrote a pamphlet on housing and capitalism. For example, the CSI survey in 2015 indicates the following increases, namely, in the price of land, 17%; developer profit, 11%; bank profit, 6%, and tax, 16%. Some 50% of the cost involved could be cut out immediately if the State was building on its own lands. A €330,000 house could be €165,000. That is the reality if we knocked out the profit interests. We could build thousands of houses each year for the next five years on public lands and end this crisis for once and for all. We could also acquire vacant properties and renovate them if needed, take over buy-to-let properties from reluctant landlords and take them out of their misery. The State could take those over. We could build student accommodation, Traveller-specific accommodation and elderly independent living-type accommodation.

We need a housing movement, as has been said, to force the Government on a path that it does not want to go, which is down the public housing route. As we did in the case of water charges and the repeal of the eighth amendment, we need students' unions, trade unions and organisations of working class people and middle income people who are now being affected by this to become involved in, for example, a national stoppage protest to force the Government to build public homes on public land because that is the only solution to this housing emergency. Clearly, the Government is not interested in taking any measures right now. It would seem Fianna Fáil is not interested either in this issue..

  Question put.

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger Vótail.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Catherine Connolly): Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly In accordance with Standing Order 70(2), the division is postponed until the weekly division time on Thursday, 13 December 2018.


Aircraft Noise (Dublin Airport) Regulation Bill 2018: Order for Second Stage

Bill entitled an Act for the purposes of giving further effect to the Aircraft Noise Regulation in so far as it relates to Dublin Airport and to make additional provision for the regulation of aircraft noise at Dublin Airport; for those purposes, to amend the Planning and Development Act 2000 to cater for the situation where development at Dublin Airport may give rise to an aircraft noise problem; and to provide for related matters.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross I move: "That Second Stage be taken now."

  Question put and agreed to.

Aircraft Noise (Dublin Airport) Regulation Bill 2018: Second Stage

  Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane Ross Zoom on Shane Ross I thank the House for the opportunity to introduce the Bill, the main purpose of which is to implement EU Regulation 598/2014, which came into effect in June 2016. This regulation sets out the rules and procedures for managing and monitoring the impact of aircraft at all major European Union airports. The approach set out in the regulation is in line with the so-called "balanced approach" to aircraft noise mitigation, which has been developed by the United Nation's International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO. This Bill follows the regulation in its entirety and, therefore, represents best international practice in aircraft noise management at airports, as endorsed by the UN and the EU.

It may seem unusual that I am implementing this regulation through primary legislation, even though an EU regulation has direct effect in member states. Typically, I would implement such a regulation by way of secondary legislation, through a statutory instrument. However, the circumstances surrounding this regulation are atypical. There has been extensive policy and legal examination of how best to put in place a noise regulation regime which, on the one hand, fully accords with EU Regulation 598/2014 and, on the other hand, is wholly aligned with our existing planning and development and environmental frameworks. The outcome of these deliberations was the conclusion that the only certain way to achieve this was by primary legislation. I have taken much criticism for delaying or not moving fast enough on this issue. While I understand and share the frustration underlying some of this criticism, some of it also betrays an under-appreciation of the complexity of the issues that had to be worked through. I am glad to be before this House to present this Bill, and I am glad that the Oireachtas will have the opportunity to examine, discuss, come to understand and, ultimately, I am sure, support it as the best available option which serves the national interest.

I propose to bring the House through the key elements of the Bill and explain the policy rationale underpinning it. As a first step, EU Regulation 598/2014 requires all member states with a major airport to designate a competent authority as the independent noise regulator. The competent authority is responsible under the regulation for monitoring the noise situation at a designated airport.

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