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Sinn Féin Bill proposing immediate rent freeze passed in Dáil vote

A Sinn Féin Bill proposing an immediate freeze on rents has passed the second stage in the Dáil.

The Bill will immediately freeze rents and place €1500 back in the pockets of rent payers once it passes through all stages in the Dáil.

The Bill would result in savings for Wicklow renters in particular, as the Garden County is located in one of many rent pressure zones.

Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has welcomed the passing of the Sinn Féin Fair Rent Bill at second stage in the Dáil.

Brady has called on the government not to thwart the democratic will of the Dáil and ensure it goes though all stages as quickly as possible.

“I’m delighted that the Sinn Féin Bill to freeze rents passed the second stage in the Dáil when it was supported by the majority of TD’s. Rents across the State are far too high and Rent Pressure Zones are not working to ensure rental inflation remains within 4%.This Bill would put up to €1,500 per year back in the pockets of renters, alongside freezing rents for a period of three years.

“Renters across the State are paying inflated rents, they are trapped in the rental sector and cannot move because there is nothing affordable to rent or purchase and they cannot save for a deposit. Everyone is affected by this; students, pensioners, workers, families and young people.

“Until a programme of affordable cost rental accommodation is rolled out, there are few affordable rental homes to be found for workers and families on ordinary incomes.

“A refundable tax credit for all renters and a three-year rent freeze provides tenants with some breathing space .But this is not all Sinn Féin are proposing. We have also made it clear that we want to deliver the biggest public housing programme in the history of the State to deliver a properly functioning housing sector for all.

“The government must not thwart the democratic will of the Dáil and ensure the important rent freeze legislation goes though all stages as quickly as possible,” concluded Brady.

Fianna Fáil Health spokesperson and Wicklow TD Stephen Donnelly has also welcomed the result of the Dáil vote to introduce a rent freeze after the latest hike in private rental prices in County Wicklow.

However, Donnelly believe’s that the victory for today’s vote is no more than a moral one, as he doesn’t expect Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy to support the Bill at the next stage.

“The most recent report from property company Daft.ie, shows that rents in Wicklow, between July and September this year, were 3.8% higher than they were last summer. That means the average rent in Wicklow now stands at €1,422 per month.

“Today I’m pleased to say that legislation calling for a three-year rent freeze, preventing rents from going any higher, has passed its second stage in the Dáil. But sadly, at the moment this is nothing more than a moral victory because the Housing Minister won’t support the Bill moving onto the next stage of the legislative process,” said Donnelly.

“Minister Murphy is apparently worried about the costs for small landlords. What I would say to him is that Fianna Fáil has already thought about these people and we have a solution. We have an amendment to ensure the law includes tax relief specially designed for small landlords. We are aware that 80 percent of the rental market is made up of landlords who have just one or two properties and we know exactly how to protect them. We just need the Government to support the Bill so it can reach the next stage.

“It’s absolutely crucial that we freeze rent prices as soon as possible. We all know, it’s much more expensive to rent than to buy, but tenants are struggling to put money away to save for a mortgage deposit which is keeping them locked in a rental cycle. Empowering ordinary workers to own their own home is a primary goal for Fianna Fáil and this means stopping the rental spiral.  The majority of TDs in the Dail who voted for a rent freeze are trying to make this happen – we now need the government to support us,” concluded Donnelly.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy attacked Fianna Fáil for backing Sinn Féin’s bill, describing it as “reckless” and said there was no evidence it would succeed, while also deeming it “immediately unconstitutional”.

Speaking after the vote, Murphy said – ” It does nothing but negative to what tenants actually need. “

Minister Murphy did however acknowledge that rents were still too high and “unsustainably high”. 

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