By Luke O'Reilly, PA
There would not be a landlord left in Ireland if People Before Profit’s rent reduction bill was to pass, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said.
The bill would establish a National Rent Authority and reduce rents to a maximum of a quarter of median monthly household income.
The median would be set based on the national or local median, whichever is lower.
Speaking in Dáil Eireann on Tuesday during Leaders’ Questions, Richard Boyd Barrett said: “Tomorrow, People Before Profit have a bill to reduce rents to affordable levels.
“To link rents to people’s income and to their ability to pay.”
He asked the Taoiseach if he would support the bill.
Mr Martin said the bill would “undermine” the capacity of working people “to afford a lot of things”, adding that Ireland had seen an “exceptionally strong” economic recovery.
He then branded the rent reduction bill as “classic People before Profit”.
“It’s simplistic, it’s classic People Before Profit, to do something that will not work, you know it will not work, but it’s popular and populist – not implementable”, he said.
“There would be a complete flood of people out of the market.
“You wouldn’t have a landlord left under your proposal.”
Mr Boyd-Barrett replied: “I guess that’s a no, you won’t be supporting a bill to reduce rents to affordable levels.
“Not overly surprising from parties dominated by a disproportionate number of landlords relative to the population.”
The issue of abortion access in Ireland was also raised by Labour leader Ivana Bacik during the leaders’ questions.
It comes after the Unplanned Pregnancy and Abortion Care (UnPAC) study, conducted by researchers at Trinity College Dublin, found that abortion legislation “falls short” on meeting the needs of Irish women.
Ms Bacik said that the report sought to discover the experiences of women who have tried to access abortion services in Ireland.
She said: “The words expressed by those women, words like awful, draining, arduous, harrowing, distressing, really show just how inadequate our current structure is to meet the real needs of women in crisis pregnancy and unplanned pregnancy.”
She pointed to the “shock” of women at the lack of GPs who provide abortion care in their communities, and to the three-day wait period for women who want an abortion as two of the areas that need “significant systemic improvements”.
“We know that last year over 200 women had to travel to Britain to get an abortion,” she added.
Mr Martin said that there were now 413 termination of pregnancy providers in Ireland.
He added: “The HSE are saying that they are satisfied that there is good geographic spread.”
Although, he added that he would wait to decide if he was satisfied with the HSE’s analysis.
He said that additional funding has been provided by the government that has resulted in a “significant increase” in consultant posts in Ireland’s maternity services.