Seanad Éireann - Volume 102 - 01 February, 1984
Housing Bill, 1983: Committee and Final Stages.
Section 1 agreed to.
Question proposed: “That section 2 stand part of the Bill”.
Mr. Cregan Mr. Cregan
Mr. Cregan: I would be worried about whether a local authority would have the right to transfer a tenant from one urban council or other local authority area. Are they allowed to transfer tenants without counter transfers? In other words, can we transfer a tenant in Dublin to Cork?
Minister for the Environment (Mr. Kavanagh) Liam Kavanagh
Minister for the Environment (Mr. Kavanagh): This, as I said, brings back the situation to what it was before the MacNamee case. If a council decide on a transfer, that is their decision, and that was their decision, as I understood it, before the case was taken. It is not introducing anything new. Local authorities, from my experience of being on two of them, will probably not consider transfers from such a distance, but there could be circumstances when a person from a particular area would have to move to Cork to work, but felt he had a claim to housing in his home town and would want to make that claim. The example given by the Senator is not the usual one, which is somebody living just a mile or two outside the functional area of the council and wishing to make an application for that other functional area. It must be considered, as it was in the past, by the council to whom he applied for transfer and in the end it would be the decision of the manager whether the transfer would take place.
Mr. O'Toole Mr. O'Toole
Mr. O'Toole: That would mean that a County Dublin man applying for a transfer  fer to Cork would be considered on his merits, and it can well be that each set of applicants sets its own standard of entitlement. You could get a person in Dublin applying in Cork. He would be coming in as an applicant and it would be the administration in Cork who would decide on whether, in accordance with the standard of the applicant in Cork at a given time, he would be housed and that he would be eligible for application. He would have to go through the same format as if he was living in County Cork.
Mr. Kavanagh Mr. Kavanagh
Mr. Kavanagh: That is exactly the position. The purpose of the Bill is to return to local authorities the flexibility they had to consider all applications on their merits, given the list of criteria that is set out for meritorious applications for housing, and we all remember what they were: overcrowding, unsuitability of housing, people living in caravans who sometimes cannot get a site inside the functional area and who may move up the road a little bit outside it. They are entitled to be considered, but the whole idea of the Bill is to return the flexibility to the urban and county councils and borough councils.
Mr. Cregan Mr. Cregan
Mr. Cregan: I appreciate the Minister's explanation, but the rulings of local authorities are that they must consider each application on its merits. There are unfortunate situations — I do not want to hold up the passing of the Bill — involving transfers of tenants from one local authority to another, and we must remember we are talking only of transfers of local authority tenants. Should we recognise the tenant as a tenant of a local authority or should we recognise him as a tenant of the State? That is the problem. That person does not get the right to be regarded as a local authority tenant already. We are not giving priority to people who are in dire need of transfer from one area to another because of compassionate or disability grounds, and so on. I find it very hard to understand that some local authorities are not prepared to give priority in this area. Could it be noted by the Minister that these things  must be recognised for what they are, that we must give some consideration to people who are already tenants?
Mr. Kavanagh Mr. Kavanagh
Mr. Kavanagh: The Senator has a point. Not all local authorities operate in an even-handed fashion and, perhaps, when I said on Second Stage that I was having a review of the 1966 Act the problems he puts forward about the actual decisions and complications that arise with certain councils could be looked at then, but for today and in connection with transfers, every person who resides in a local authority area in the State, irrespective of what part of the State he is in, is in a local authority area and this Bill gives authority to councillors to consider a transfer application from another local authority area. It goes only as far as has been the case in the past. It gives power to a council to consider an application and to make proper judgments on the merits of the application as against other applicants they have before them.
Question put and agreed to.
Sections 3 to 5, inclusive, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment, received for final consideration and passed.
Seanad Éireann 102 Housing Bill, 1983: Committee and Final Stages.