A Housing Bill, initiated by local Minister of State, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, aimed at helping distressed mortgage holders has passed committee stage in the Oireachtas.
Minister Moran has confirmed that the Bill, the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform (Amendment ) Bill 2019, is expected back before Dail Éireann for report and final stage before the summer recess.
With the support of all the main parties, Minister Moran believes the legislation, which he initiated as a private members’ bill in February 2016, and is now a key Government Bill, should be of significant help to those in mortgage arrears and who are making genuine efforts to remain in possession of their family homes.
Prior to passing committee stage, Minister Moran made a plea to both Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein representatives not to put amendments to the Bill to delay its political advancement, expressing his desire for the Bill to pass all stages before the summer adjournment.
“I am fully aware of the ongoing problems facing families in mortgage distress and the fact that the numbers in long-term arrears is getting bigger. I am very anxious that this Bill proceeds without delay and I am hopeful that it will be back before the Dail before the summer recess.
“Work on this Bill began when I first entered the Dail and it is a commitment I gave that I would do my utmost to find a solution for genuine people who are seeking to keep a roof over their heads,” Deputy Moran remarked.
The principal objective of this Bill is to provide further protections for homeowners in mortgage arrears who are facing the prospect of repossession proceedings. It does so by broadening the range of matters that a court must take into account when deciding whether to grant a possession order to a lending institution in respect of a borrower’s principal private residence.
Meanwhile, the Athlone elected representative has noted the need for a key piece of legislation targeting repeat sex offenders to be acted upon promptly following the release of figures this week which detail an increase in sexual assault crimes.
The relevant Bill, also initiated by Deputy Moran, allows for longer presumptive minimum sentences for repeat sex offenders and became legal in recent months.
“The issue of serial sex offenders has been very much in the news in recent days with a notable increase of 10 percent in the sexual offences category, which continues a trend for this year.
“I would encourage anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault to come forward and I am happy to say that this Government, by allowing my Bill to become law, has strengthened our laws on stricter penalties for repeat sexual offenders.
The Deputy reiterated the Garda Commissioner’s commitment to have specialised units in place by the close of the year, such units tasked with improving services to victims and improving the investigation of sexual and domestic violence incidents.
“Work continues on the review examining reform of the investigation and prosecution of sexual violence to ensure that complainants are protected to the greatest extent possible.
“A major national awareness campaign on sexual harassment and sexual violence was launched by the Department of Justice and Equality named ‘No Excuses’. It aims to increase awareness of sexual violence and to bring about changes in societal attitudes with the aim of decreasing and preventing these offences,” Deputy Moran concluded.