Tag Archives: Leo Varadkar

From top: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (left) and Denis Naughten; Pat Breen, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection

This evening.

Further to the resignation of the Minister for Communications. Denis Naughten…

Mr Varadkar said he was informed late last night by Mr Naughten of a private dinner he had attended at Mr McCourt’s home in 2017.

This dinner was organised by Minister for State Pat Breen, who was also at the dinner.

This morning, Mr Naughten told Mr Varadkar that he had had at least three further private dinners with Mr McCourt. No officials were present and no minutes of the meetings were taken.

Mr Varadkar also informed the Dáil that he had met Mr McCourt last March in the US at a public event but th ebroadband plan was not discussed.

Taoiseach reveals further dinners with Naughten and broadband bidder (RTÊ)

Earlier: Picking Up The Tab

This morning.

Ireland AM on Virgin Media 1.

Leo Varadkar: “I can accept how the optics are problematic and perception does matter in politics and, of course, in business, too. But, as I said, Denis [Naughten] is going to be in the Dáil this afternoon. He’s going to clarify all those aspects and I’d like to give him the opportunity to do that first.

“You know, a lot of the time, people also jump to conclusions and rush to judgement and I wouldn’t like that to happen.”

Mark Cagney: “Do you have confidence in him?”

Varadkar: “In Denis? I do, yes.”

Cagney: “Fully?”

Varadkar: “Yeah.”

Cagney: “OK, so there won’t be a resignation any time soon? And if Fianna Fáil come looking for his head?”

Leo Varadkar: “Well…that’s up to them, obviously, I can’t speak for Fianna Fáil.”

“…Well I asked him [Naughten] to come and see me last night so actually, last night, we had a meeting, went through these issues, asked the kind of questions that you’re asking me now and he’s to come back to me with a few more answers.”

Mark Cagney: “And you’re satisfied?”

Varadkar: “So far, yes.”

Mr Naughten will make a statement and take questions on his contacts with David McCourt in the Dáil at 3pm.

More as we get it.

Earlier: Wiffy

Yesterday: The Birthday Party

From top: Lorraine and Sgt Maurice McCabe; former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, former Assistant Secretary to the Department of Justice Ken O’Leary, former assistant secretary at the Department of Justice Michael Flahive, former secretary general at the Department of Justice Noel Waters; Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Dáil

This afternoon.

While Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin was putting questions to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar about the Minister for Communications Denis Naughten and the tendering process for the National Broadband Plan contract…

And telling Mr Varadkar that the process had been “contaminated” but the contact between Mr Naughten and David McCourt, of the consortium which is the only bidder left seeking the contract…

Mr Varadkar put it to Mr Martin that he had “a history of making allegations against ministers, saying their assertions are not credible and then refusing to take back your claims when they’ve been disproved by an inquiry”.

Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton is expected to deliver his report on the Disclosures Tribunal shortly – having said he will deliver it in October.

The tribunal examined allegations that Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe was the victim of a smear campaign.

Members of An Garda Síochána, the Department of Justice and the media were questioned at the tribunal – including the former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald.

In light of this…

The Taoiseach said:

“You have a bit of a history in this Dáil, of saying things, of claiming, of making allegations against ministers and claiming that things aren’t credible. You said the same about Minister Harris and about me in relation to CervicalCheck and yet the Scally report proves that what you believe was not credible was credible.

“You made allegations about former Minister [for Justice] [Frances] Fitzgerald. And we’ll see what the findings are in relation to that.

“So you’ve a history of making allegations against ministers, saying their assertions are not credible and then refusing to take back your claims when they’ve been disproved by an inquiry. So this is a pattern of yours unfortunately and it’s not a good one.”

Hmmm.

Previously: Unconscionable

This afternoon.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar tweets a video of himself speaking about what he says the Government is doing to tackle the housing crisis.

In the video, Mr Varadkar pretty much repeats what he told the Dáil on Wednesday – including  the line that there will be 20,000 new homes built this year.

Meanwhile…

Mr Varadkar told the Dáil on September 18 that about 30,000 or 35,000 homes are needed.

Via Namawinelake

Previously: “I Could Speak For Hours”

This afternoon.

In the Dáil.

During Leaders’ Questions.

Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin raised the housing crisis and asked Taoiseach Leo Varadkar if he could explain “the absence of delivery [of housing] across the board” and if he accepted Ireland was in an “emergency”.

Mr Varadkar said he’s already on record as saying there’s an emergency and said he knows people across Ireland are frustrated with the pace of delivery of houses and that he’s frustrated, too.

He said he could “speak for hours” about all the things the Government is doing to fix the crisis but he said he’d mentioned the five main strands of the Government’s response to the crisis.

He said Ireland will undergo the “biggest social housing programme in decades in Ireland” with “over 100,000” social houses to be provided over the next ten years  and “8,000 this year alone”.

He said the Government is also “accelerating the supply of homes for people to buy” with 20,000 new houses and apartments to be built in Ireland this year and 25,000 next year.

Mr Varadkar also mentioned how the Government brought in rent caps in urban areas to “put a stop to the spiralling double digit rent increases”.

And he said “rough sleeping” is down by 40 per cent and “that didn’t happen by accident”.

He said: “It happened because we worked with NGOs and charities to get people off the streets.”

And, finally, he spoke about the recent launch of the Land Development Agency.

Further to this…

Dáil proceedings can be watched live here

Earlier: Rising Slowly

 

From top: Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

This afternoon.

In the Dáil.

During Leaders’ Questions.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald spoke about homelessness and raised her party’s pending motion of no confidence in Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy which will be debated at 8pm.

Ms McDonald called Taoiseach Leo Varadkar “delusional”.

She said:

“Taoiseach, I can only surmise that you’re delusional…you seem to believe that everything is ok, that you’re on track…despite the facts, not opinions, not speculation, the facts – that homelessness has risen. That houses prices rise, that rents are out of control and beyond the reach of even people at work.

“You seem to be entirely immune to the fact that people are now taking to the streets and taking direct action, to give voice to the anger and, in fact, the desperation that they feel.

You’re plans are not working, your minister has failed and is failing in his duty to the tens of thousands of people on housing lists to the ten thousand people who are homeless, to the children that I referred to earlier, who will sleep tonight and the next night, and the night after, and the night after that, in emergency accommodation.

“And by the way, we make no claim to have a monopoly on empathy but we certainly on these benches have plenty of exposure to those families and those very real, despite experiences and yet you are immune to them and delusional. Because you stand up as head of Government and you claim that you’re plan is working and that Fianna Fail assists you in that regard.

“You have failed, your minister is failing and on behalf of the people at the weekend who came out, desperate people, desperate people, with real stories, they want an answer from you and they want someone held to account and I suggest to you again Taoiseach that the person to be held to account in the first instance is Minister Eoghan Murphy.”

Mr Varadkar responded:

“We all know what this is about. The Dáil is back, Sinn Féin is looking to score political points so they put down a motion, a motion that is just pure politics. A motion that is just pure politics, tactical, cynical, personalised and ineffective. And there’s one thing that’s absolutely certain.

“There’s one thing that’s absolutely certain. The Sinn Féin motion put down tonight, if passed, will not house a single person. Nor will it help us to build houses any quicker than we are already. And this is all we have from Sinn Féin – oppositional politics, cynical politics, personal politics. They don’t really care about people who are homeless. They don’t really care about people on the housing list.

“They don’t really care about young couples who are struggling to buy for the first time. That’s why they put forward no solutions. When they put forward solutions, they’re solutions that don’t work. All over the country, all over the country, when they can help, all over  the country, when they can help, their councillors vote down social housing.

“Whether it’s in South Dublin or whether it’s in the North Inner City…This is the truth of Sinn Féin.”

Watch Dáil proceedings live here

UPDATE:

This afternoon.

United Nations, New York, United States.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar addresses the Nelson Mandela Pea Summit.

Snow peas or sugar snap peas: will we ever reach consensus?

Taoiseach hails Good Friday Agreement in UN speech (RTÉ)

Yesterday.

National Ploughing Championships, Screggan, County Offaly.

Random Irish News writes:

After Storm Ali, workers at the Fine Gael stall were busy clearing up the damage. Here one of them gives Leo’s smile a good wipe…

Random Irish News

Yesterday: Ploughing Off


From top: Danielle McLaughlin, who was murdered in Goa, India in March, 2017; a letter this week from the Taoiseach’s office to Danielle’s mother, Andrea Brannigan

Columba writes:

I though you might like to post the reply received from the office of an Taoiseach today to the mother of Indian murder victim Danielle McLaughlin.

It states in the most callous way that she wasn’t an Irish citizen and shouldn’t bother contacting the Irish government and goes on to provide contact details of the British Foreign sec.

Danielle was indeed an Irish citizen, and as such an Irish passport holder. She was also a British citizen and passport holder.

She was born in Scotland and moved back to Donegal with her Irish mother as a young child, thus qualifying for both citizenships.

The Department of an Taoiseach doesn’t seem to know this, or indeed care about it at all….

Danielle McLaughlin’s Mother Shocked By Disgusting Letter From The Taoiseach (DonegalWoman)

Previously: In Goa

Rachel Lavin, of The Story, reports:

Over €50,000 has been spent making videos promoting government policies go viral on social media, in which Taoiseach Leo Varadkar features heavily.

A sample of 15 such videos were paid to reach 14 million views on Twitter and Facebook, with the Taoiseach featuring heavily in nearly 20% of the footage as he informs the public about topics ranging from the Budget and Project Ireland 2040 to softer campaigns such as Bliain na Gaeilge and the Rugby World Cup bid.

The government under Leo Varadkar has increased its self-production of media, with the use of videos on social media having increased nearly 250% since his taking office.

Varadkar star of Government’s paid-for Viral Videos (Rachel Lavin, The Story)