Landlord asked tenant for sex in lieu of rent, Dáil hears

Landlord asked tenant for sex in lieu of rent, Dáil hears
Ruth Coppinger

The Dail has heard the case of a young woman who was propositioned by her landlord for sex in return to live rent-free in her bedsit.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy described as “disgusting and horrible” the story of the young woman which was voiced by Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger.

“Taoiseach, sex for rent has become a reality in Ireland,” she said referring to a report which detailed more than 200 similar cases in Britain.

Reading out texts received by the young woman from her landlord, Ms Coppinger detailed how she wanted to leave, the landlord responded by offering to bring her to dinner.

“Let's see where it goes,” he went on.

When she declined the offer, he then went on to offer to allow her live rent-free “if we could agree something.”

Ms Coppinger called on the Government to deliver stronger protections for tenants and in response, Mr Murphy condemned the actions of the landlord.

He said the Government has introduced a number of new laws which strengthen the position of tenants across the country.

The minister said in his view it sounded like a criminal matter and said he hoped the Gardai were investigating the matter.

Also at Leaders' Questions, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar strongly rejected accusations of cowardice by Health Minister Simon Harris over the publication of two major reports during the summer break.

“It was an attempt to bury them,” Labour's Alan Kelly said during his question about the lack of delivery of a 95-bed unit in the University Hosptial Limerick.

“Minister Harris was deliberately avoiding scrutiny, it was cowardly behaviour,” he said in relation to the delay in publishing the De Buitleir report into the level of private activity in public hospitals and the HSE Capital Plan until August.

In response, the Taoiseach rejected any suggestion the reports were suppressed. “I gave up half a day and there were four ministers present. Not the sort of thing you do if you are trying to bury something,” he said.

“It actually didn't get enough coverage,” he exclaimed.

Mr Varadkar also told the Dail that the Government has not yet received an enforcement order from the Data Commissioner Helen Dixon about her ruling against the government on the Public Services Card.

In response to questions from Sinn Fein's Johnny Brady, the Taoiseach said Minister Regina Doherty offered to meet Ms Dixon to discuss the Government's decision to appeal her ruling but that offer was declined.

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