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General News / September 1, 2022

Stephen Donnelly breaks the law, says he shouldn’t resign

Image: PA
General News / September 1, 2022

Stephen Donnelly breaks the law, says he shouldn’t resign

Words: Ellen Kenny

Stephen Donnelly admits he broke the law by not registering a property with the Residential Tenancy Board, but like, he still should be allowed to help run the country.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has admitted that he failed to register a property he rented with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) until last week.

The property was first registered with the RTB in 2011, but it had not been registered since 2019 until last week.

According to Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019, landlords must register their properties with the RTB every year. According to RTB, “Failure to register can result in a criminal conviction”.

If a property is not registered with the RTB, tenants face multiple issues. This includes problems in applying for residency, college places, bank loans, tax allowances and rebates. Tenants in unregistered properties will likely be refused these applications.

The annual registration enables the RTB to regulate the sector more effectively. It also provides the RTB with more up to date information on tenancies and on the operation of the residential rental sector.

An application for dispute resolution cannot be accepted from a landlord if the tenancy is not registered. However, a dispute application can be accepted from a tenant irrespective of whether or not the tenancy is registered.

Donnelly does not he think he should resign

Speaking to reporters today at Dublin Castle, Donnelly said that he has paid the 100 euro fine for late registration to the RTB.

When asked if he was considering his position over the matter, Donnelly said he is not considering his position as Minister for Health. He explained that he didn’t believe his actions “warranted resignation”.

Because since when did breaking the law warrant resigning from your position as a Government minister? Who do you think we are, people with morals?

Nothing to declare?

Since Robert Troy TD resigned as Minister of State after failing to declare property interests, more and more TDs have come forward to explain any failures to declare properties with the Oireacthas or RTB. 24 TDs have listed rental properties on the register of members’ interests. The vast majority of those tenancies are registered with the RTB.

Former Fine Gael minister for agriculture Michael Creed listed a rental at Railway View in Macroom but the property did not appear on the register. He said this is because the property is currently vacant.

Fianna Fáil TD Seán Haughey listed a rental property in Kinsealy, Dublin, which also did not appear on the register. He also said that this is because the property is currently vacant.

Of course, there are reportedly 48 TDs in the Dáil who own rental properties. In the wake of Robert Troy, we should expect more TDs to admit to “forgetting” to declare their interests or register their rental properties. At this stage, it will be disappointing, but hardly surprising.

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