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Question

14. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the public refusal by landlords to accept tenants in receipt of rent allowance is a discriminatory act under the Equal Status Acts; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6971/15]

Answer

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin): The Equal Status Acts 2000-2012 outlaws discrimination in the provision of goods and services on nine specified grounds. These grounds do not include income source.
While I do from time to time receive correspondence relating to this matter and while the general issues so raised may come to inform policy and legislative change, I am sure the Deputy will appreciate it would not appropriate for me, as Minister of State, to provide an interpretation of the law.
However, I can confirm at this point in time, that the Government has decided, in principle, to bring forward amendments to the Equal Status Acts to prohibit discrimination in relation to residential tenants, or prospective tenants,on the basis that they are assisted with their rent through rent supplement or social welfare payments.
Legislative amendments in this regard are being prepared by my Department in consultation with the relevant other Departments. These are expected to be ready soon and once approved by Government, I intend to publish them as amendments to the Employment Equality (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill. Committee Stage of that Private Member's Bill will resume in the Seanad later in this parliamentary term with a view to its early enactment.