Senator Alice Mary Higgins wins 'use it or lose it' amendments to the Housing Bill 2016

The final debate on the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Bill 2016 finished at 11pm last night in the Seanad. The video above is from last week's Committee stage where I put forward a number of amendments on issues of rent certainty, receivers and evictions.

I also proposed a number of 'use it or lose it' amendments on planning to tackle the problem of land speculation and hoarding. I was happy that the Government accepted at least one of these amendments, ensuring that any developers receiving 'fast track' planning application cannot apply for planning extensions if they don't build.

Last night at report stage I was delighted to win a vote on three further amendments - increasing protection against eviction for tenants when a property is sold and narrowing the loopholes for landlords seeking such evictions. I also contributed to the successful passing of an amendment from Fianna Fáil to ensure receivers must operate within the same constraints and responsibilities as landlords. These are five significant improvements to the legislation but still just part of the bigger picture - increased investment in social housing is also urgently needed to address our homelessness crisis.

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Senator Higgins calls on Government to proactively partner with medtech manufacturers

Independent Senator Alice-Mary Higgins has called on the Government to “Build on the serious and responsible actions already taken in Ireland, by proactively engaging with medical technology manufacturing companies to support an increase in production of ventilators and related lifesaving equipment”

The Senator, herself from Galway, noted that “we are fortunate to have a number of companies based in the west of Ireland who produce equipment which could play a crucial role in response to Covid-19. Medtronic are global leaders in the manufacture of ventilators. Aerogan are a local company who produce nebulisers and Aquila Bioscience, a company that works with NUI Galway, have developed a new anti-viral cleaning wipe."

On International Data Protection Day 2021, Senator Higgins calls for new Data Awareness and Digital Empowerment Fund

On International Data Protection Day 2021, Independent Senator Alice-Mary Higgins has called for establishment of a new Data Awareness and Digital Empowerment Fund, to include money ringfenced from GDPR fines.

Senator Higgins said:  “The strengthening in Data Protection we have seen in recent years is as much about transparency and control as it is about privacy. Laws such as GDPR give individuals greater access to their own personal data and a say in how it is used.  At its best this goes beyond protection to empowerment.