An adorable, ingenious wooden robot drinks cabinet, designed by Italian furniture maker Borghesani in 1969.
(Via Kelly Wearstler)
Dublin Castle, Dublin 2.
New ministers arrive for the first cabinet meeting of the new government.
From top: (left to right): Eamon Ryan, Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport, with Tanaiste, and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar and Taoiseach and Leader of Fianna Fáil Micheál Martin; Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath and Government Chief Whip Dara Calleary; Minister for Higher Education and Science Simon Harris: Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly; Minister for Agriculture and the Marine Barry Cowen; Green Party Senator Pippa Hackett (left), junior minister at the Department of Agriculture.
St Kevin’s National School, Wicklow.
The National Broadband Plan contract being signed by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister Richard Bruton and National Broadband Ireland’s David McCourt among St Kevin’s sixth class students.
Pics: Merrion Street
From top: Denis O’Brien; Minister for Communications Richard Bruton; Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with David McCourt; McCourt with former Minister for Communications Denis Naughten; Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy
It’s expected that the Minister for Communications Richard Bruton will bring a memo to Cabinet this morning, recommending that the contract from the National Broadband Plan is signed.
Further to this…
The Social Democrats is calling for a Dáil vote before the contract is signed.
TD Catherine Murphy, co-founder of the Social Democrats, writes:
“The National Broadband Plan carries an unprecedented risk for the State where the Government will hand over a huge amount of public funding, following a flawed process, to a private company for an asset that the State won’t own, with no guarantees in regard to value for money.
“Signing the contract could put the State in financial jeopardy.
“It is essential that the Dáil get to see the precise detail of what the Government is signing up to, and vote on it, prior to the Government giving away so much of the public money for what seems to be so little in the long term.
“How can the Government, on behalf of taxpayers, heavily subsidise infrastructure only to hand it over to private entity, who’s only concern will be profit margins.
“What will the eventual cost be to those who need broadband? To the State in subsidies?
“The broadband network is a vital national asset that will underpin our economy for the future. It is imperative that all people and businesses have access to reliable, high-speed broadband.
“But when the UK and Australia talk about re-nationalising their broadband networks in order to ensure that it is a public good accessible by everyone, surely it’s time to shout stop, and assess how we go about it properly here in Ireland.”
Hugh O’Connell, in the Irish Independent reports:
Fianna Fáil is set to effectively drop its opposition to the controversial €3bn National Broadband Plan (NBP) that will leave thousands of homes and businesses in rural Ireland waiting up to seven years for high-speed internet.
The opposition party has admitted that once Fine Gael signs the broadband contract, it may cost taxpayers even more by attempting to break it. The plan is being given final approval by ministers at a special early-morning Cabinet meeting today after it cleared the final regulatory hurdle with the European Commission last week.
National Broadband Ireland (NBI) has told the Government it will take an estimated seven years to roll out broadband to the 540,000 homes and businesses.
Previously: No Cause For Concern
Richard Bruton tweetz:
Today is a historic day for rural Ireland. The government are signing the national broadband contract, which will bring high-speed broadband to the 1.1M people across Ireland who can’t get access.
This is the biggest investment in rural Ireland since rural electrification. It will ensure rural communities will not be left behind and will be guaranteed the same opportunities as urban areas.
Leo Varadkar jeered by protesting farmers as he arrives for this morning’s cabinet meeting.
“Where’s the beef ya vegan ya” was my personal favourite shout pic.twitter.com/8qjjsCwKwQ
— Seán Defoe (@SeanDefoe) May 1, 2019
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar arrives at #Cork City Hall for this morning’s Cabinet meeting to shouts from farmers of:
“Where’s the beef, ya vegan.”
He is confronted here by IFA President Joe Healy pic.twitter.com/GAG0F739fQ
— Eoin English (@EoinBearla) May 1, 2019
Livestock shenanigans at a cabinet meeting being held in Corcaigh – a temporary re-location that must have seemed like a good idea at some point.
That’ll learn them.
Inside Cork City Hall…
On tour! pic.twitter.com/HcUumJqPdV
— Meister 1 (@blueelmacho) May 1, 2019
Helen McEntee, new junior minister for European affairs, with her fellow junior ministers following their appointments yesterday afternoon with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, centre
Further to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s choice of junior ministers yesterday…
Fine Gael has released the following statement:
Fine Gael in Government has done more than any other party before it, in terms of gender equality in politics.
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has maintained the highest number of female Cabinet Ministers in the history of the State – first achieved in July 2014 .
Currently there are four female full Cabinet Ministers, including the Tánaiste, and in addition, a female Super Junior Minister who sits at Cabinet.
Of the 11 Fine Gael female TDs, six are either Ministers of Junior Ministers, including the Super Junior Minister, meaning 55% of Fine Gael female TDs occupy senior Government positions. Of the five Fine Gael female TDs who are not Ministers, four are first-time TDs.
Fine Gael introduced gender quotas cutting funding to political parties if they failed to run at least 30% women candidates at the General Election.
As a result of this, the 2016 election saw 35 women elected to the Dáil. This was the highest number of women ever elected to the Dáil and a 40% increase on 2011.
Fine Gael has more women elected to the Dáil than any other party. However, there is no room for complacency and we continue to work to encourage more women into politics.
Fine Gael ran more female candidates than any other party in the last local elections of 2014. In that election we had the highest number of female candidates ever to feature on a Fine Gael ticket.
The party gave every possible support to these female candidates in their electoral bids, including training and mentoring specific to the challenges faced by women in politics.
Fine Gael is completely committed to increasing the number of women actively participating in politics and will continue to seek to boost the number of women at al levels of the party.
Previously: It’s Good To Be King
Statement via Hugh O’Connell
The cabinet at Aras an Uachtaráin on May 6, 2016, following the General Election last year with Katherine Zappone (fourth from right)
Further to reports that Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone did not inform her cabinet colleagues of the matters concerning Tusla and Sgt Maurice McCabe when it met on Tuesday, to discuss the terms of conditions of the forthcoming commission of investigation into Supt Dave Taylor and Sgt Maurice McCabe’s protected disclosures…
The following statement has been released by a spokesperson for the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone…
Minister Zappone has met with Mrs Lorraine McCabe and Sgt Maurice McCabe. She has heard first hand of the devastation caused to them by the false allegations against Sgt Maurice McCabe.
The Minister became aware of the circumstances when Mrs McCabe contacted the office of the Minister for Health on 18 January 2017.
As the matter related to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the Private Secretary of DCYA was requested to call Mrs McCabe. The private secretary did this on 18 January.
Minister Zappone met Mrs and Sgt McCabe on Wednesday 25 January. Since then her office has been in regular contact with Mrs and Sgt McCabe and Tusla – which has led to the offer of a public apology.
The Secretary General of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs held a meeting with Senior Tusla Personnel on Friday 27th January. Tusla provided DCYA with a chronology and analysis of the case – which my Department gave to Mrs and Sgt McCabe on Saturday 28th January.
Tusla informed the Secretary General that they have instituted a case review to extrapolate all relevant information in order to provide a more detailed analysis.
Minister Zappone informed relevant Government colleagues during the course of this period. Minister Zappone was always of the view that Tusla would form part of the investigation by the Commission of Inquiry.
It’s also being reported that Ms Zappone is declining to name the “Governement colleagues” with whom she spoke.
Yesterday, in the Dáil, Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald asked Fine Gael Justice Minister and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald if she was aware of any contact between the gardaí and any other State agency in respect of Sgt Maurice McCabe…
They had the following exchange…
In addition, in the Seanad yesterday afternoon, Ms Fitzgerald said the following, as part of her statement on the commission of investigation by Mr Justice Peter Charleton…
I thank Members of this House for agreeing to statements being taken on this important matter in the House today. As the House will be aware I have laid the relevant material before the House to give full effect to the recommendations of Mr Justice O’Neill.
However, before moving to seek approval for the relevant motion I believe it is sensible that we discuss these matters here first. I am already persuaded from discussion which I have had that there may be some improvements which can be made to put beyond doubt that certain matters will come within the remit of the commission. I intend to reflect on what is said here today and make any amendments to the proposed draft order in light of those discussions.
As Mr Justice O’Neill indicated, it is imperative that certain allegations be examined and I believe we should stick as closely as possible to the terms of reference he proposed. After all we appointed him and gave him terms of reference for the initial inquiry. He has considered all the issues and made a series of recommendations which I have laid before the House.
Transcripts via Oireachtas.ie
H/T: Gavan Reilly
Previously: ‘Government Forces Have Said’
From left: Cabinet members Alex White, Simon Coveney, Enda Kenny, Joan Burton, Alan Kelly and Simon Harris this lunchtime
Help is on its way (should this kind of thing happen again).
The set up of a Flood Management Co-Ordination and Implementation Group is among the matters discussed at a crisis summit at Government Buildings this afternoon
The new group would co-ordinate the local flood management plans for 66 different towns and settlements along the Shannon which are vulnerable to flooding.
Junior minister Simon Harris says other measures being discussed today include funding for a long-term weather forecasting system.
Earlier: I Love Rain
Minister of Health is a doctor. Minister of Transport is an astronaut. Minister of National Defense is a Sikh Veteran. Minister of Youth is under the age of 45. Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food is a former farmer. Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness was a Scout. Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development was a financial analyst. Minister of Finance is a successful businessman. Minister of Justice was a crown prosecutor and is a First Nations leader. Minister of Sport, and Persons with Disabilities is a visually impaired Paralympian. Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and Canadian Coastguard is Inuit. Minister of Science is a medical geographer with a PhD. Minister of Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees was an Immigration critic. There are scientists in the cabinet, and it is made up of 50% women.
And the icing on the cake?
(H/T: john Gallen)