Dáil comes back again today to rows over homelessness, migrants, farming and, as usual, Irish Water
Published 22/03/2016 | 02:30
Fianna Fáil will try to turn up the heat on the caretaker Government today over the housing crisis with a demand for an immediate 5pc increase in rent supplement allowances.
TDs returning to the Dáil for the second time since the election almost four weeks ago will not try to select a Taoiseach as talks about government formation drag on. Instead they will debate last week's EU leaders' summit on migration, and the controversial deal with Turkey, along with EU farm policy issues.
This afternoon the Dáil is set to turn its attention to the housing crisis and the caretaker Government will get its first taste of explaining issues for which they have responsibility but only limited powers.
When the new Dáil first met on March 10, Sinn Féin and Anti-Austerity Alliance People Before Profit (AAA-PBP) angrily and unsuccessfully demanded a debate on the future of Irish Water and the crisis on homelessness.
There will be no surprise if they try today to insist on a full debate on the embattled water utility, again testing new Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghaíl, with some acrimonious exchanges expected.
Fianna Fáil welfare spokesman Willie O'Dea said he would be calling for an emergency 5pc rent allowance increase to help alleviate people's suffering and anxiety until promised building programmes can be delivered.
"I am calling for a 5pc rent allowance increase as a temporary measure until the building programme of whatever Government is in office is completed. This is vitally important to prevent more people becoming homeless," the Limerick TD said.
Mr O'Dea said the traditional objection to a rent allowance increase was that it would drive up rents even further. But he argued this would not be the case now with the two-year rent freeze in place and the caretaker Government could increase the rent cap.