Tag Archives: Dail

Yesterday evening.

In the Dáil.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar compared opposition leader Micheál Martin to a parish priest “who preaches from the altar, telling us to avoid sin while secretly going behind the altar and engaging in any amount of sin himself”.

It followed questions from Mr Martin about the National Development Plan and its costs and Mr Martin asking the Taoiseach not to be “petty, silly and idiotic” in his response.

Good times.

Taoiseach compares Fianna Fáil leader to sinning parish priest (RTE)

Yikes.

Earlier today.

The Dáil was suspended when Kerry Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae claimed Fine Gael Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe told a “lie” and that he wasn’t asked to join Government in 2016.

The row took place during a discussion about the tourism VAT rate.

Healy-Rae denies being asked to join Government: ‘I was not asked to dance’ (Marie O’Halloran, The Irish Times)

This afternoon

In the Dáil.

Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi is addressing both houses of the Oireachtas and Bono.

Said Ms Pelosi:

“This month we mark the anniversary of one of the greatest achievements of that spirit of hope and a faith that a better future is possible.

The signing of the Good Friday accords in 1998, ending centuries of conflict. On that holy day, the world saw the dawn of peace in Northern Ireland, which few had ever dared to dream.

With the diplomatic leadership of President Bill Clinton who sends you his regards, when he found we were coming….”

FIGHT!

Pics: Maxwell

UPDATE:

 

From left: Ali Hewson, Bono, Nancy Pelosi and Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl in Leinster House.

Ms Pelosi said of Bono:

“In modern times, another purveyor of the word from Ireland, Bono and U2 – one of Ireland’s most beloved exports, whose music and mission [applause] – [looks up at Bono in the gallery] oh, there you are, I’m not finished – whose music and mission of advocacy stirs the spirit of the world, while embracing the pride of the Irish…

“We’ve learned so much at U2 concerts about what’s going on in Ireland. And we were delighted to see Bono in the gallows of the GPO last night – a picture of David Trimble and John Hume at a U2 concert in Belfast in 1998.

“Bono is here with his wife Ali Hewson, who is there. Thank you both for being here [applause].

“I take pride in saying that I’m one of the members of Congress who’s been to more of Bono’s, U2’s concerts than anyone.

“Now, he’s in the audience. Thank you Ali, and thank you Bono, for being here, and give my regards to the rest of U2, The Edge and others.

“Something I learned from my children, from Michael Keneally and then my grandchildren, we all know, I usually do not intrude on music of my children. That does not apply to U2.”

Watch live here.

UPDATE:

Meanwhile

Ms Pelosi exits from Cats hair salon, Dublin.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney in the Dáil

This afternoon.

Brexit was raised during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney said he will be bringing two Brexit papers to Cabinet this evening when it meets at 8.30pm.

He said the Brexit negotiations have “intensified significantly” in recent days and those will continue.

He said:

Ireland is not going to allow a situation where the UK, leaving the European Union without a deal, drags Ireland out of the single market with it.

“We cannot allow that situation. And what I mean by that is, the response being a checks in EU ports, on all Irish products. That is not a runner and will cause significant damage to our economy so we will not allow it.

“So what we need to do, and what we are doing now, is we have intensified our discussions with the European Commission on how we respond to that dual responsibility of protecting the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process and the relations on this island as best we can.

“While at the same time, reassuring that we can reassure other EU countries that Ireland is protecting the integrity of the single market that we all share.”

“….We have to find a way of ensuring, as I say, that we protect the single market’s integrity but that we avoid physical border infrastructure on the border.

“And that is something that we do not have an agreed plan on. But we are working this week and presumably into next week on, if we need to, in the context of an no-deal Brexit.”

Fianna Fáil’s deputy leader Dara Calleary told Mr Coveney that every party in the Dáil wants to work with him in preparation of a no-deal Brexit.

He said members of the Dail should be allowed to see, or have some knowledge of, the Government’s “plan”.

He added: “Hope is no longer a strategy. You’ve hoped for a long, long time but it seems, whether by accident or design, we’re going towards a hard Brexit.”

During his response, Mr Coveney said:

“The Government isn’t hiding anything from anybody. There isn’t a plan. What we are doing is we are working out a plan with the European Commission because it involves both the European Commission and the Irish Government to actually try to ensure that we fulfil our dual responsibilities as co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement and as a committed member of the European Union and a single market and customs union.”

Watch live here

Fine Gael TD and member of the Oireachtas sports committee Noel Rock

Just now.

In the Dáil.

During Topical Issues, the management, finances and funding of the Football Association of Ireland was raised.

It followed the announcement of the FAI at the weekend that John Delaney would be stepping down as CEO but would be taking up a new role as executive vice-president.

The FAI said the move followed the adoption of a recommendations set out in a review of its senior management structure –  which was commissioned in February and carried out by Jonathan Hall Associates.

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock, who is also a member of the Oireachtas sports committee, told the Sports Minister Shane Ross no terms of reference for this report have been published to date and the FAI has “so far not even responded to our [sports] committee in looking for that report”.

Mr Rock went on to say;

“Incredibly, minister, within six weeks, that report has been produced in its entirety, no redrafting required and the contents of it acted upon by a unanimous vote of the board, culminating in the announcement of a brand new position for John Delaney.

“A new position for John Delaney, passed by an unanimous vote.

“This absolutely stinks, minister.

“I met with an expert in sporting governance who is currently undertaking such a review with a sporting body in another jurisdiction. That review is coming to conclusion, that review took a year.

“How could this review only take six weeks?

“Why did the FAI act on it so quickly? Why can’t the FAI supply us with this report, given they already acted unanimously on an element of it?

“Does the minister believe this is good corporate governance?

“Does the minister believe that taxpayers’ money is being deployed effectively?

“Does the minister not believe that now is the time for an independent examination into FAI corporate governance and finances.

“It’s time we looked at where taxpayers’ money is going as there are clear omissions being supplied.”

“On finance, I’ve spoken with current and former employees of the FAI, minister, and I am disturbed by what I’m hearing and the documents I am seeing.

“While we continue working with these sources and readying ourselves to ask questions about what has previously happened within the FAI in our committee, on April 10, I believe that we need to act now to safeguard taxpayers’ money.

“…we see in the public domain today, once again, that for 2019, the FAI requested an early drawdown of State funding from Sport Ireland – this is not the first time it has happened and no explanations have been forthcoming.

“We also saw the revelation of an undeclared directors’ loan by Mark Tighe in Sunday Times. The question has to be asked: why was this necessary? Is it the only time it happened? Why wasn’t it declared?

“Has the minister spoken to Sport Ireland on these matters, does he have any concerns with regard to the undeclared directors’ loan? Does he not agree that further taxpayer funding should be contingent on an independent examiner and an independent examination?

“The original issue which thrust this issue into the public domain was one of borrowed money, minister, but it is quite clear that the board of FAI is now only existing on borrowed time.

“These are important questions minister and they deserve an answer, they deserve a public answer. Thank you very much.”

In response, Sports Minister Shane Ross said, in relation the loan provided by Mr Delaney to the FAI “have raised serious questions about governance and financial controls in the FAI”.

He said Sport Ireland is currently engaged with the FAI to “clarify these matters” and “when the necessary clarifications have been received from the FAI” Sport Ireland will submit a report to him.

He added:

“In the interest of due process, and in the interest of natural justice, it is important that Sport Ireland’s engagement with the FAI would be given the necessary time to ensure that all matters are considered thoroughly. Therefore I do not wish to make an comment on any possible outcome from this ongoing process.”

Meanwhile…

Anyone?

Watch live here

Earlier: It’s All Kicking Off

Former CEO of the FAI John Delaney

Watch Dáil proceedings live here

Earlier: Gauntlet Thrown

From top: Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary; Tánaiste Simon Coveney

This afternoon.

In the Dáil, during Leaders’ Questions.

Fianna Fail’s deputy leader Dara Calleary raised the latest homelessness figures with the Tánaiste Simon Coveney.

During his contribution, Mr Calleary mentioned an interview the Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy’s gave RTÉ’s Morning Ireland this morning in which Mr Murphy accused journalist Bryan Dobson of speaking from an “ideological” position when the broadcaster asked the politician about the Government’s record on housing and homelessness.

Mr Calleary asked Mr Coveney to “finally ‘fess up” and admit the Government’s housing plan Rebuilding Ireland – launched when Mr Coveney was Minister for Housing in 2016 – is not working.

Mr Coveney said nobody is denying the facts and the figures of homelessness in Ireland, and the emotion attached to the same, before going on to cite Rebuilding Ireland figures.

He then said:

“The truth is, deputy, we are listening to others in this house and, indeed, experts outside it. Rebuilding Ireland was always a policy initiative that would change, depending on where the pressures and demands were coming from and that is what it’s doing.

“But if you look at the number of people that we are taking out of homeless right now, it’s a higher figure than ever before.

“If you look at the number of social houses that are being delivered, it’s higher than at any point in the last decade.

The truth is there are more families and individuals coming into homelessness now than I think anyone in this house predicted.”

Mr Calleary told Mr Coveney his response was the same response he gave in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Mr Coveney said there is work to be done but the Government has “changed the housing market in Ireland” with rent pressure zones and increasing the powers of the Residential Tenancies Board.

He also said Rebuilding Ireland was a five-year housing plan and the Government is only three years into it.

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty also raised the homelessness figures and also raised Minister Murphy’s interview on Morning Ireland.

He called on the Government to support a bill proposed by Sinn Fein TD Eoin O’Broin – aimed at preventing buy-to-let landlords from evicting tenants.

Mr Coveney said:

The truth is that this State is not the only one facing this challenge. Last year, almost 20,000 households approached housing bodies in Northern Ireland because they consider themselves homeless… and solutions have to be found there as well as here. This is a challenge that many countries are facing.”

Mr Coveney also insisted Mr O Broin’s bill will not work “legally or in practical terms”.

Watch back here

Inside Dáil Éireann

Jennifer Bray, in The Irish Times, reports:

A “dignity and respect” helpline is being set up at Leinster House to which politicians and staff will be able to report cases of bullying and sexual harassment in the Oireachtas.

Details of the planned helpline are included in a new policy which sets out actions to be taken where complaints are made.

“While members have a particular commitment to uphold the highest standards of behaviour as public representatives, they can also be vulnerable to vexatious claims,” the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission document says.

Plan to tackle Oireachtas bullying and sexual harassment (The Irish Times)