Tuesday 23 May 2017

Angry scenes in the Dáil but FG and FF are to try make a new deal on rent

Simon Coveney Picture: Doug O'Connor
Simon Coveney Picture: Doug O'Connor
John Downing

John Downing

TD's may be facing an extra day in the Dáil as they continue to debate controversial rent cap measures.

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald has accused Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil of “playing politics” with families living in fear of eviction from rented homes.

Ms McDonald’s attack came as it emerged that the Dáil will try to again to find a compromise on Housing Minister Simon Coveney’s plans to cap rent increases, and implement other measures to put some order on the home rental market.

The measure is to be debated for most of the rest of today – and the TDs may have to abandon plans to start the Christmas break a day early and restore tomorrow’s Dáil sitting which had been cancelled.

Minister Coveney’s plans to cap rent increases at a maximum 4pc in Dublin and Cork over three years and other measures were blocked yesterday amid Fianna Fáil demands for stronger action.

These demands included halving the rent increase cap to 2pc and extending it to Waterford, Galway and Limerick and Dublin’s commuter belt, while also giving more tax breaks to landlords.

A day of negotiations delivered progress – but Fianna Fáil refused to agree an overall compromise effectively blocking the measure.

Today there were bitter Dáil rows amid claim and counterclaim – before it was agreed to try again on a new compromise.

But Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald accused the two big parties of cynical political game-playing.

“Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are playing politics with the rooves over people’s heads. New politics you call it – well it looks like the old,” the Sinn Féin deputy leader said.

For the Government, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald said the Housing Minister was working on real plans to help improve things for people renting accommodation. She rejected Ms McDonald’s assertions.

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