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'New politics my arse' - Gerry Adams is not happy with the rent strategy row

Talks broke up without agreement late last night.

pjimage Source: Rollingnews.ie

Updated at 12.45pm

THE DÁIL WAS adjourned earlier this morning amid a row over the Government’s proposed new rental strategy.

Fianna Fáil voted with Fine Gael to keep a debate around the proposed new rental legislation off the Dáil agenda for the morning.

This follows on from talks breaking down between the two parties late last night as Fine Gael sought to gain Fianna Fáil’s approval for the proposed new bill.

As the Dáil adjourned, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams sought to address the chamber, but was ruled out of order by the leas Cheann Comhairle.

“New politics, my arse,” said Adams, who had sought along with Labour and other oppostion TDs to keep the bill on the agenda.

The Dáil reconvened shortly after for Leaders’ Questions.

Demands

Earlier, Housing Minister Simon Coveney said that it was ‘legally impossible’ for him to give into Fianna Fáil demands about revising the Government’s rental strategy.

As things stand, the Government will not be in a position to pass the legislation concerning its proposed solution to the rental crisis.

Speaking today on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Coveney said that the parties disagreed on three key elements of the strategy.

These were the proposed 4% yearly cap on rental raises, more tax incentives to be introduced for landlords, and designating more areas as ’rent pressure zones’ where the caps will apply.

Coveney said the parties had made good headway on the first two issues, but that the rent pressure zones issue had been “the real stumbling block”.

Coveney said that Fianna Fáil wanted the legislation to name towns and cities outside of Dublin and Cork as rent pressure zones (where the 4% cap on rent rises could apply).

“The problem with that is I have to make sure that we have a robust process that is evidence-based, that is independently assessed by the Residential Tenancies Board,” he said.

We cannot be making political decisions to designate areas to become rent pressure zones without the evidence to back that up.

Coveney said that he agreed to prioritise certain areas and cities to look at designating as rent pressure zones in the new year, but that Fianna Fáil said they “want them named now”.

“It is legally impossible for me to name them now and they know that.

I will not introduce flawed legislation… I won’t do something that I know to be wrong.

End of term

Earlier, it was expected the legislation around rents would not be introduced before the Dáil rises for the Christmas break, leaving tens of thousands of households in the private rental market in uncertainty until next year.

As it stands, the Dáil agenda has again been changed, with TDs coming back in tomorrow. This could signal that government will try and get it over the line before the House rises for Christmas.

Homeless campaigners have expressed dismay that no agreement has been reached between the two parties.

The talks broke off last night between the two parties without agreement at about 11.30pm.

The disagreement is the biggest issue to face the minority government and its ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement with Fianna Fáil since the Government was finally confirmed in May.

Fianna Fáil has accused the government of “intransigence” regarding the negotiations.

With reporting from Cormac Fitzgerald and Christina Finn 

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