Tag Archives: Dail

Sarah Doherty tweetz:

“Last night, five XR [Extinction Rebellion] Ireland activists locked themselves to the gates of the Dail, resulting in their arrests. Twenty TDs were stuck inside until the early hours of the morning.

These activists had three demands:

– that the government enact the Climate Emergency Measures bill
– that the Shannon LNG project is ended
– that the government enact the recommendations of the Citizens Assembly on Climate Change

These people ranged from students to pensioners, and came from all over the country.

They were surrounded by friends, music, and love throughout 💚”

Extinction Rebellion protesters arrested after chaining themselves to Dáil (The Irish Times)

Extinction Rebellion Ireland

Previously: Penneys For Your Thoughts

Meanwhile, Across Dublin City

Today.

At 1pm.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe is scheduled to present Budget 2020 in the Dáil.

Watch live in the link above.

Meanwhile, via RTÉ News:

The Budget had been expected to be a package worth €2.8bn, but it is understood that the increase in carbon tax and changes to other taxes, such as the dividend withholding tax, could push it closer to €3bn.

Minister Donohoe concluded his discussions last night with a Fianna Fáil delegation, following talks with the Independent Alliance on its key concerns.

It is understood that some of both parties’ key budgetary demands were met.

An expansion in the medical card scheme for the over 70s and other health and social welfare spending increases are expected.

Donohoe says absolutely no surprises in Budget 2020 (RTÉ)

Budget 2020 preview: ‘No chocolates, some smarties’ in €1bn Donohoe budget plan (Irish Examiner)

Budget 2020: Here’s what to expect (RTÉ)

Earlier today.

In the Dáil.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney (top) responds to the UK’s latest Brexit proposal.

UK, not EU, needs to do further work on Brexit offer: Brussels (RTE)

UPDATE:

Meanwhile…

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar; Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin

This afternoon.

During Leaders’ Questions.

Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin raised RTÉ’s report from last night concerning an apparent “non-papers” proposal for the border – claims which were dismissed by the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on BBC this morning.

Mr Martin asked Mr Varadkar if he discussed these “non-papers” with Mr Johnson during their recent meetings and asked if he could outline their “provenance”.

He also asked Mr Varadkar if he was aware of them before last night’s report.

Mr Varadkar said he hasn’t seen the “non-papers” but he was aware of their existence.

He said:

“Their existence was public knowledge and commented on the papers – at least in the last week or two. Essentially the UK provided for non-papers to the EU task force on the basis that they be kept confidential and not be shared with member states and they were not shared with member states.”

Mr Varadkar continued to say he welcomed Mr Johnson’s comments this morning “when he disowned and distanced himself from those non-papers”.

He said had Mr Johnson not done so, it would have been “hard evidence of bad faith” on the part of the British government.

He said, in December 2017, the UK government promised Ireland and the EU that there would be no hard border and no physical infrastructure or associated controls or checks, as a consequence of the UK leaving the EU.

He added:

“We expect the British government to honour that commitment made in good faith in the withdrawal agreement.”

He also said:

“No British government should seek to impose customs posts between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland against the will of both the people in Northern Ireland and the people here in the Republic of Ireland.”

And he added:

“When the Government, when we talk about checks, we talk checks being necessary in the context of no deal. And if we face no deal on the 31st of October, if the UK decides, and it will be their decision, to leave the European Union without a deal and operate on WTO rules, then there will need to be checks – at the ports, at the airports, perhaps at business level and perhaps near the border too.

“That is just the reality of the situation. But  that is in the context of no deal. We’ve never been in the position of signing up to checks as part of a deal.”

Mr Martin responded to Mr Varadkar:

“I think, Taoiseach, you need to be careful in terms of welcoming everything that Boris Johnson said this morning because of course Boris Johnson made it clear that, he says ‘we’re going to make a very good offer, bla, bla’ and so on.

“….But if you’re trying to keep, there is a difficulty, he said, if you try to keep Northern Ireland in the Customs Union because one of the basic things of being in a country is you have a single customs perimeter and a single customs union so, in essence why he’s sort of dismissing the non-papers, the essential message of what he’s saying today is: he wants to keep Northern Ireland out of the Customs Union.

“And we’re all in agreement in this House, that Brexit makes no sense, it makes no economic sense, it makes no sense for those doing business or farming in Northern Ireland. It damages the economy all round.

“But I think it seems to me, very clear, that he’s sticking to the idea that he does not want, as part of the exit deal, any provision which would ensure and guarantee that Northern Ireland would remain within the European Union customs union.

“Would you accept that that seems to be his position right now? Or do you have other evidence to suggest that he may be willing to compromise on that?”

Mr Varadkar replied that he believes Mr Martin’s “assessment is correct”.

He added:

“It is his view that the United Kingdom should leave the European Union, whole and entire, to use his language, and that means the UK, including Northern Ireland, leaving the Customs Union.

“But as I explained to him when we met in New York, there is a reason we came up with the deal that we did, after two years of negotiations with Prime Minster May and her government. And what the backstop provides for is a single customs territory.

“It doesn’t provide for Britain or Northern Ireland to stay in the Customs Union. It provides for what’s described as a single customs territory  and that satisfied our demand and our desire that there not be customs checks, north and south.

“But also it satisfied the concerns and desires of many unionists that there not be customs checks east, west. A single customs territory designed specifically to meet that need. And that’s why we ended up with the backstop. And that’s why the backstop is actually the best solution.

“Because it avoids customs posts, north, south. It also avoids customs posts east, west, by having the entire UK within a single customs territory.”

Earlier: Border, Border

UPDATE:

Eoin (from comments) writes:

Sorry, who does Leo think he’s kidding. Boris Johnson has publicly, on several occasions, disowned the 7 December 2017 declaration. He fuppin’ well put it in writing to Donald Tusk in a letter on 19 August 2019:

“Accordingly, as I said in parliament on July 25, we cannot continue to endorse the specific commitment, in paragraph 49 of the December 2017 joint report, to “full alignment” with wide areas of the single market and the customs union. That cannot be the basis for the future relationship and it is not a basis for the sound governance of Northern Ireland.”

Thanks Eoin

At Sean Walsh Memorial Park in Tallaght, Dublin; Fianna Fáil TD John Lahart; Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe; and Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

This afternoon.

In the Dáil.

The recent destruction of wetlands at Sean Walsh Memorial Park in Tallaght, Dublin, following de-silting works at the park by South Dublin County Council, the was raised by Fianna Fáil TD John Lahart and Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe with Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Ms Madigan confirmed to the two TDs that her department will be carrying out an investigation into the matter and vowed she “won’t leave a stone unturned” during that inquiry.

South Dublin County Council released a statement on the matter on Monday.

Ms Madigan’s confirmation of an inquiry follows Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin yesterday demanding in inquiry into the matter.

During his contribution, Mr Crowe said the wetlands was a “vibrant, multi-layered eco-system”.

He added:

“It came about by accident rather than design. There was a murder in the area, the guards needed to dredge the area…silt came out of the pond and it was put on grassland. And this, over a couple of years, the eco-system came about.”

He also said:

“It was described by one person, the vandalism, the environmental vandalism that actually happened, it was like a punch in the gut and it not only demotivates people, it demoralises people, not only those environmentalists, but also volunteers who help in the park, but also park staff.

“We got it wrong, clearly. It regenerated over the years, it was bursting with life, nude spats and even the critically endangered European eel.

“…you say, minister, that there’s going to be an inquiry, I think that’s something positive. I think it was an issue of miscommunication rather than a malicious decision. Nevertheless, the environmental destruction is unacceptable, it can’t happen again in any part of the country and serious lessons need to be learned from this disaster.”

Mr Crowe went on to ask Minister Madigan to outline how long the investigation will take place, when it will finish and if her department will liaise with local representatives.

During her response, Ms Madigan said:

“My department…is investigating this matter and we have been in touch with the Heritage Officer of South Dublin County Council, indeed the Chief Executive and the director of Environmental Services also. And we have requested a report on the matter from them.

“Officers from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, of my department, are arranging a visit this coming week, together with the Heritage Officer and following on from that site visit, I expect to receive a report from them, for review.

“I would caution, however, that it shouldn’t be prejudicial or premature in establishing facts until we see that report in detail and we will then take any further action as a result of those findings as we see fit.”

Mr Lahart told Ms Madigan:

“The question you must ask of the local authority is: how did communication breakdown to such an extent that one arm of the local authority didn’t know what the other arm of the local authority has done, and has essentially vandalised a natural habitat.

“That’s the first point, the second point is this: Does a local authority require a licence from the EPA to dump silt and soil in particular spots. That’s the second point.

“The third point I want to make is this. This happens widely in Ireland. I have queries, as well from constituents at the moment, in relation to the provision of play spaces in Dodder Valley – that their concerns in relation to the biodiversity impact of one of those play spaces wasn’t taken seriously by the local authority in terms of the part 8 submission.

“And we look at the ESB. The apparent jewel in the crown of semi-state bodies has not responded publicly in any meaningful way to their pollution of the River Dodder. A documentary on Prime Time covered that.

“So your response is outlining what your responsibility is as minister, but you have serious questions to ask the local authority as to how this came to happen.”

During her response, Ms Madigan said:

“I will give you the full report when I have it to hand.”

Previously: All A Blur

“Like The Surface Of The Moon”

Meanwhile…

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Dáil during Leaders’ Questions this afternoon

This afternoon.

In the Dáil…

In response to questions about the Public Services Card from Sinn Féin, the Taoiseach spoke glowingly about the PSC – telling the Dáil he himself has a PSC.

It follows the eventual publication of a damning Data Protection Commission report about the card by Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty last night and her department’s refusal to comply with the DPC’s orders in relation to the card.

Mr Varadkar told the Dáil that “like the majority of people in this House”, he’s a “big supporter” of the PSC and he thinks it’s worked “extremely well”.

He added:

“Over three million people in Ireland now have a Public Services Card, including me, and when people are asked what they think about the Public Services Card that they have, over 80 per cent of people are satisfied with it and prefer it to what they would have had before which would have been a number of different books and passes – pension books, children’s allowance books, free travel passes, social welfare services cards – it’s replaced all of those and given people one simple card which enables them to access public services.”

“And that’s exactly what the Public Services Card is. It does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s what it was intended to be in 1998 and in 2005 when it was introduced in legislation. It’s there to assist people to access public services  and to make public services more efficient to deliver.

“It is not primarily about fraud but it does have benefits in terms of deterrence, reducing fraud aswell but it’s primary purpose is to make it easier for people to access the public services and benefits that they’re entitled too and also makes it possible to be more efficient for Government departments and agencies and to provide those public services.”

“…in terms of legal advice, it’s not our practice to publish legal advice, either from the AG [Attorney General] or outside counsel, we won’t be doing that. But obviously, if this case goes to the court, goes to the circuit court or the High Court thereafter then of course that legal advice will be made public at that point and that is normal procedure when it comes to litigation.”

He later added:

“…In relation to the National Childcare Scheme, as you know, that’s coming into effect later this year to provide increased subsidies for childcare for tens of thousands of families across the State and for the first time about 10,000 middle income families will qualify for childcare subsidies for the first time. The vast majority of these families, about 80 per cent, have the Public Services Card already and will be able to apply for those subsidies and increased subsidies online.

“And I think the vast majority of them will do that because they will see the convenience of just being able to take out your Public Services Card, apply for those childcare subsidies online and get those subsidies without going through the rigmarole of filling in forms, getting in photographs, producing banks statements and all of that. However, for those who want to, that option will be available.

“So, there will be an option for those who don’t want to get a Public Services Card. But mark my words – people will vote with their feet and their keyboards and the vast majority of those parents will use the Public Services Card to apply for that subsidy because it makes sense.

“Moving online, digitisation is the future, providing public services to people in this country but the alternative will be there.”

Mr Varadkar went on to say that the department has yet to receive an enforcement order from the DPC and that the DPC has declined an invitation to meet with Ms Doherty’s department.

He also said “this is a democracy” and “the right of appeal is part of a democracy”.

Watch live here

Earlier: The Regina Monologues

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)