Thursday 23 May 2019

Homelessness campaigners question the influence of landlord TDs

Fr Peter McVerry
Fr Peter McVerry
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Leading homelessness campaigners have raised questions over the Government's reaction to the crisis in that area and the number of landlords elected to Leinster House.

Fr Peter McVerry and Brother Kevin Crowley both said they hoped the Government's reaction to the escalating problem was not influenced by the number of TDs and senators who own rental properties.

More than 20pc of the elected representatives in the Dáil and Seanad have rental properties, according to the Oireachtas Register of Members' Interests.

The majority of landlords are from Fine Gael, with 24 members stating they are renting properties.

Fianna Fáil has 12 landlords, Labour has seven, Sinn Féin has one and there are also seven Independents with rental properties.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Brother Crowley said: "If they were controlling rent for their own personal interest, it would be a proper disgrace for the number of people who are really in need."

Last week, Fr McVerry said: "There are a number of TDs who are landlords and I don't think that they are going to vote for it" (rent certainty).

While he later said he had no evidence to suggest that TDs were lobbying ministers to prevent rent certainty, he then added: "I think the issue in Fine Gael particularly is much more on the side of those who have power, rather than those who are powerless."

A Fine Gael spokesman said the party's members were "acutely aware" of issues facing tenants and were committed to bringing stability to the rental sector.

Fianna Fáil said it was committed to bringing in rent caps and increasing rent allowance.

The party said its TDs' rental properties did not impact on their decision-making on the issue.

Labour said its members rental properties were transparently recorded and there was no conflict of interest.

Irish Independent

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