Tag Archives: Leinster House

RTÉ’s Agriculture Correspondent Fran McNulty tweetz:

Protesting farmers block the exit to Leinster House in Merrion Square, several Oireachtas members and staff unable to leave.

Ongoing road closures in Dublin says An Garda Síochána. Kevin Street, Cuffe Street, Kildare Street, Merrion Square South, Dawson Street & Merrion Row will remain closed tomorrow as farmer protests continue.

Farmers’ protest causes major disruption in Dublin (RTÉ)

Earlier: What’s On The Grill?

This lunchtime.

Outside Leinster House.

Cyclists held a ‘die-in’ demonstration following the death of Neeraj Jain (top) who was cycling to work last Friday morning when his bike collided with a cement mixer at the back of the building site of the National Children’s Hospital.

Mr Jain, from Faridabad, India, moved to Ireland in 2018 to pursue a Masters degree in Engineering in UCD and was working with Deloitte in Dublin.

Last week in the Shankill area of Paulstown, Kilkenny, a cyclist in his 70s died after he suffered serious injuries following an incident with a parked lorry.

Today’s ‘die-in’ is the second such ‘die-in’ in as many days.

Rollingnews

Meanwhile

Neil Fox (above) – whose sister Donna (above inset) died when she was hit by a lorry turning left at the junction between Seville Place and Sheriff St Upper in September 2016 – has written a blog post about today’s “die-in”.

From this post…

“‘Die-Ins’ have a very clear purpose and the fact they horrify is the real reason for them, they bring the harsh reality across in a way nothing else quite can.

“As someone who had to wait days before I could see my sister, one might imagine I’d never need a reality check on the horror.

“But I do, and if I do, how much more others who have thankfully never been directly effected by the tragic brutal violent death of a loved-one in a cycling collision.

“I’ve recently been thrilled by the new dangerous overtaking of a cyclist regulation which Minister Ross will bring in next week, but of course the other key ingredient is: infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure, so I am in total solidarity with those protesting today in our shared vision for a safer Ireland, in particular a safe Dublin for cyclists.

“…I call on the Government as ever, to wake up, to do whatever possible to curb such carnage. Carnage, lives lost, lives destroyed. Real people. Not mere statistics.

“…I really hope some good comes of today’s demonstration. It is heartbreaking but perhaps a re-enactment, dramatic as it is, is needed to bring our government to act. Really act.”

“Die-In” by Neil Fox

Yesterday: Extreme Steps

Top pic: Muiris Ó Conchúir

This afternoon.

Outside Leinster House.

Members and supporters of Extinction Rebellion hold a protest in response to comments about climate change made by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the launch of the government’s first progress report on its Climate Action Plan last Thursday.

Yesterday the Sunday Business Post reported that Mr Varadkar said:

“One thing that we definitely face as a result of climate change is warmer winters. We’re already experiencing warmer winters, and that actually means using less energy because it’s warmer and people need less heating, and it also means fewer deaths as a result of cold weather.

“It’s interesting that when you do look at those things, that there is a ledger, and there are benefits and there are downsides. The downsides outweigh the benefits but we need to be aware of them too.”

Meanwhile…

The group tweetz:

“… let’s take a look at Leo Varadkar’s ledger.”

Fewer deaths and warmer winters due to climate change: Varadkar (Aiden Corkery, Sunday Business Post)

Pic: Extinction Rebellion Ireland

This afternoon.

Members and supporters of the Mental Health Warriors demonstrated outside the gates of Leinster House.

The group, which is calling for 24/7 mental health services and more funding for mental health services, included Fiona Twomey (red coat) whose 11-year-old daughter Milly from Templeogue, Dublin, took her life in 2016.

Kathy Maguire (third picture), from Newbridge, Co Kildare, also took part in the protest.

Kathy’s daughter Maxine, aged 25, died by suicide in February 2017.

Meanwhile…

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar; Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald

Earlier today, during Leaders’ Questions, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald told Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that the protest would be taking place today.

She also recalled the death, by suicide of Grainne Gault’s daughter Elisha on St Patrick’s Day last year, and told him Grainne would be taking part in the protest.

Ms McDonald told Mr Varadkar that, over the past two years, 744 people in Ireland died by suicide.

She added:

“The Government’s failure is most evident in the child and adolescent mental health service, CAMHS, which is on its knees.

“It is crumbling while families and communities cry out for help, which the Government is not providing. Staffing shortages have led to CAMHS beds lying empty and children waiting months for mental healthcare.

“In August, 2,440 children were waiting for mental health services. Half of those children were waiting at least 12 weeks to be seen, while 748 were waiting six months. That is far too long to wait when a young person’s health, and possibly life, hangs in the balance.”

In his response, Mr Varadkar told Ms McDonald:

“Since 2012, the budget for mental health services has increased by 44%.

“I doubt one could find such a large increase in mental health funding in any seven-year period in Irish history.

An additional €40 million for mental health was announced in the budget last week, which brings the mental health budget to over €1billion for the first time.”

He added:

“The Deputy will be aware that the rate of suicide in Ireland has fallen by about 30% in recent years.

“Of course, any suicide is one too many, but we all welcome the fact that suicide rates in Ireland are dropping. It also reminds us that there is more to do.

“The Minister of State, Deputy Jim Daly, who has responsibility for mental health, informed me last week that the CAMHS waiting list is down 25% and still falling.

“That is a very positive development, on which we need to build. We have also invested in improving psychological services in primary care, by hiring an additional 114 assistant psychologists, for example.”

The Taoiseach added that, last week, a 24-hour mental health helpline was established for the first time.

He said:

“People often do not know how to access the 1,000 or so different mental health services out of hours, whether in the evening, at nighttime or on weekends. That helpline, which is based in the National Ambulance Service, is making a real difference.”

Ms McDonald, during her response, said:

“The death of Elisha Gault, the child I mentioned, was not captured in the official statistics.

“She is not officially recorded as a death by suicide. Instead of claiming – I believe erroneously – that deaths by suicide are falling, the Taoiseach would be better served by looking at those real live statistics and understanding that they do not represent the full picture.

“The Taoiseach rattled off figures to me, citing a figure of €40 million. However, only €14 million of that is new money. That is a fact.”

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

Leah Farrell/Rollingnews and Mental Health Warriors (second pic)

This afternoon.

In Leinster House.

At the launch of a report by the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment – following an examination of the National Broadband Plan process so far during May, June, July and August.

The report contains 25 conclusions and 10 recommendations which include

The Government should commission an external, independent review on whether its proposals (and the costs) are the only viable option.

A new cost-benefit analysis to be carried out before the final National Broadband contract is signed, commissioned by and developed independently of Government Departments.

The Comptroller and Auditor General should have a role identifying cost overruns in large infrastructure projects.

All infrastructure developed through the National Broadband Plan should remain in public ownership.

Government should re-engage with the ESB to examine the best model for delivery of a new National Broadband Plan through the ESB.

Chair of the committee and Fine Gael TD Hildegarde Naughton told those present:

“As you’re aware this report was endorsed by a majority of the committee, by five votes to three, and it’s well known that the Fine Gael members of the committee, of which I’m a member, did not agree with the report and I totally respect the democratic decision of the committee which I chair.”

More as we get it.

Watch live here

UPDATE:

During the launch…

Green Party leader and Dublin TD Eamon Ryan said:

“Ultimately it’s going to be up to Government now to make the call. They have to decide can they change this? And if so, how do we do it in a timely manner?

If we don’t change it though, that sends out a message that worries me. That we’re engaged in consultation that isn’t, you know, real. You can look at ideas but actually once you’ve started on a path, you can’t diverge.”

Fine Gael Senator, from Cork, Tim Lombard said:

KPMG said it would take five years if we were to start this process again – that we could actually come to where we are today. They’re the experts in the field, going through this procurement issue. The department said it could take three to five years. So that’s what the actual experts told us.”

“…from my point of view, we now need to press ahead. We don’t need another expensive review. We don’t expert independence coming in to give us more information on information. We need to get boots on the ground. We need to start this, we need to get a contract signed.”

Fine Gael Senator Joe O’Reilly, from Cavan-Monaghan, said:

“We’ve had an exhaustive process. This committee has sat for four months, effectively, close to four months, instead of the projected two months. So an exhaustive process. No member of the committee and, by the way, we all worked great together and there was a very positive, constructive approach and I’ve nothing to say to the contrary.

“But no member of the committee had a potential guest or group refused admission. So everybody that was wanted to be there was listened to.

“….We’ve exhausted all levels of inquiry. There is nothing new to learn here.”

“…Should we reduce the cost? Should we reduce the €3billion? Yes you can reduce the €3billion. You can take €1billion off it and make it €2billion.

“And you do that by taking 20 per cent of the homes out of it. In other words, defeat the whole purpose.

“…Why is it €3billion?…It’s actually €2billion net because there’s…effectively…up to €500million in there as a contingency in case things go wrong. There’s €345million for the VAT. So, effectively, it’s being stress-tested in terms of cost.”

“…Would a further inquiry throw up something we don’t know? The answer is no. Can we reduce the cost? No, without literally defeating the whole purpose of the exercise and discriminating against a chunk of rural Ireland. And thirdly, should we go ahead now? Absolutely so.

“People talk about State ownership as an alternative. That train left the station when we sold Telecom Eireann….irrespective of that, we have all the advantages of nationalisation in the plan, in this sense, that we will get 60 per cent of excess profits during the run.

“And there is, based on the UK experience, there will be a much larger take up than is anticipated. And we’ll also get 40 per cent of the value of the entire outfit, the entire NBI at the 25-year mark and they’ll be committed to another 10 years to 35.”

“…there’s a lovely old rural expression. That emanates from an agricultural society that I’m proud to come from. And it says you cannot go on weighing the pig. You must, at some point, start feeding it. 

“…I feel, like somebody from the country listening to this, that all the logic could be in delaying this could be to discriminate against the people for whom I come and represent.”

Fine Gael TD, from Galway, Hildegarde Naughton added:

Nobody, nobody has come up with an alternative, plan B, that is legally viable. Nobody, not even the minister. All the experts that came before us. Not even the recommendation of this all, cross-party, committee report. There is no plan B here. It’s just go out again, review it again.”

Fianna Fáil TD, from Clare, Timmy Dooley said:

“We can have another hearing if we so wish, maybe in the Dáil. I’m happy that the work of all members of the committee has done in trying to get to a position of which there are recommendations now.

“So we’re making recommendations to the Government. We can bring that through if we get time in the Dáil and have another debate…it won’t change. It’s still an option for the Government to either accept or ignore the committee report. So a discussion and debate in the Dáil, I don’t think will change the Government’s mind one way or the other.

“…Are you [Irish Examiner journalist Juno McEnroe] suggesting that we have a debate in the House on the report? Of which I think I know what the outcome of that would be. I know what the result of that would be, based on the cross-party support that has been found.

“Yes, we support the Government in the Confidence and Supply Agreement of which this doesn’t form part of. If you’re suggesting that I’m going to threaten to bring down the Government on the strength of whether or not they accept this report or not – well the answer is ‘No’. The answer is ‘No, we won’t be bringing down the Government on this’.

“We’ll be advising them from an Opposition perspective which is what we have done every step of the way. We have raised very serious concerns for the past two years and we continue to act as a responsible Opposition.”

Related: Consultants paid lavishly for wrong advice on broadband (Cantillon, The Irish Times)

Previously: Overly Complex, Restrictive, Redundant And Unfit For Purpose’

Rollingnews


Last night.

Merrion Street, Dublin 2.

An unnamed pizza delivery man brings pies, garlic bread and, possibly, chicken wings to Government Buildings as a special emergency cabinet meeting took place inside over Brexit as the UK and EU ‘agreed’ a package on the backstop.

Rollingnews

Meanwhile

Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar (above) and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tanaiste Simon Coveney (top) leaving Government Buildings following the special Brexit meeting/Midnight feast.

Brexit: Taoiseach responds to EU-UK backstop measures (RTÉ)

Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews

Update:

This will never end.

Update:

See?

Gulp.

This morning.

Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2

Fur farm-hating grim reapers greet returning TDs afte the Dáil Summer recess.

Rollingnews

Meanwhile…

Social Democrats TD Róisín Shortall and the party’s political director Anne Marie McNally on the plinth at Leinster House

This morning.

Outside Leinster House.

Social Democrats TD Roisin Shortall has called for an immediate rent freeze nationwide.

In a statement, Ms Shortall said:

“One of the worst effects of the housing crisis is that more and more people are relying on private rental accommodation. Rents are at record levels. According to DAFT, rents nationwide have risen by 75% since 2011 and are now 27% higher than their 2008 peak.”

The party’s political director Anne Marie McNally said:

“The Government needs to intervene now to stop rents sky-rocketing any further. We have to end this exploitation of renters and those priced out of the housing market. That objective should start with an inescapable nationwide rent freeze now.”

FIGHT!

Meanwhile…

The Dáil resumes this afternoon, following the summer recess, with Leaders’ Questions starting at 2pm.

Proceedings can be watched live here.

Pic: Social Democrats




Kildare Street, Dublin 2

Images outside and inside Leinster House as refurbishment continues on the Georgian listed building estimated to cost up to €8 million expected to take a further six months to complete.

Nice fixer upper, in fairness.

FIGHT!

Conservation and Reservation at Leinsteir House (Oireachtas.ie)

Previously: Restoring the Unrestorable

Pics via Oireacthas.ie

Top two pics: Aaron