11. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her views as to whether there is a legal barrier in view of the lack of any barrier to ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities from a legal perspective and only from a policy point of view; the policy of Government that has informed the failure to ratify the convention; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40440/16]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy Finian McGrath): I thank Deputy Gino Kenny for raising this very important issue.
Ireland signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007. Since then, successive Governments have emphasised Ireland's strong commitment to proceed to ratification as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to ensure all necessary legislative and administrative requirements under the convention are met. However, the Minister is tagging onto this a legal framework. I do not know whether the Minister is aware that at present people can then go to the Private Residential Tenancies Board and argue about when the review should commence. It will often state people have an extra one, two or three months, which it can do under the legislation. For one reason or another, it may negotiate that instead of a €300 a month increase, it will knock off €200 or more. The Minister has thrown this into total doubt. People are coming to us because the Minister is encouraging landlords who are not in designated areas. Many of these landlords are very decent and may want to keep their tenancies, but their agents, the media, the landlords' associations and everyone else are saying that they should grab their chance now and increase or they will forever lose the chance to increase rent. The Minister is causing massive confusion for people who are very fearful of what landlords will do. If a landlord states, as he or she often does, that they will have to increase the rent in several months, it is informal, but in the note he read out the Minister referred to the moment negotiations start. When do people go to the PRTB? Do they go to the PRTB immediately? Do they look for extra time before the increase comes in? Do they look for a reduction in the amount of the increase requested? This is what is happening in people's lives.