Tag Archives: RTE

From top: Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe with RTE Director General Dee Forbes; Sean O’Rourke and at a press conference following his Today show post-budget  broadcast

This morning.

Radio Centre, Donnybrook, Dublin 4.

Via RTÉ:

A caller aged 68 is unhappy at recently losing his and wife’s eligibility to a medical card and seeing that in yesterday’s Budget over 70s have had the income threshold limit for medical cards increased to €1,050. He asks why under 70s didn’t have a threshold increase. Mr Donohoe says he had to make changes affordable to the funds he had available. He added that he would like to make further changes in the future when funds are available.

Meanwhile

Mr Donohoe has defended the decision to make €16.8 million available for the greyhound industry. He was asked on Today with Sean O’Rourke why this money could not be ringfenced for carers. Mr Donohoe said that €1.4 billion overall had been put aside for carers.
He told a caller that Ministers Shane Ross and Michael Creed have looked to put significant changes in place to deal behaviour that he believed was “utterly unacceptable in the greyhound industry”.

Budget 2020: Reaction and Donohoe takes questions (RTÉ)

Rollingnews

This afternoon.

On RTÉ’s News At One

RTÉ Online’s Motoring Editor Donal Byrne told broadcaster Áine Lawlor that motorists can expect a “double whammy” in next week’s budget in terms of the carbon tax.

He said it’s likely the Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe will announce tax increases on new diesel and petrol-run cars.

And he said a €6 per tonne carbon tax increase is also on the cards.

Ireland’s carbon tax – which hasn’t been increased since 2014 – currently stands at €20 per tonne.

Mr Byrne explained:

“When you go to fill your car at the pumps, it’s going to cost you somewhere between €1.20 and €1.60 extra to fill your car.”

But you get to save the world from imminent EXTINCTION.

Which is nice.

Earlier: A Modest Proposal

Rollingnews

Meanwhile…

Catherine Murphy

Yesterday.

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy asked Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe  for the following:

‘The amount collected to date in carbon tax; the methods of dispersing the revenue generated from the tax; the purposes for which the revenue collected from the tax has been used for the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter?”

In a written answer, Minister Donohoe responded:

‘The total annual net receipts from carbon tax are set out in the following table:

Total Net Receipts:

2010; €223,084,537

2011: €298,231,058

2012: €353,954,210

2013: €388,376,990

2014: €385,361,885

2015: €418,996,237

2016: €430,247,558

2017: €419,603,362

2018: €431,131,923

Total: 3,348,987,760

Carbon tax receipts to end August 2019 were approximately €281,800,000, some €20 million (6.8%) behind forecast. To date the revenue from carbon tax has been remitted to the central fund and therefore used to fund public services.’

Carbon Tax Yield (Oireachtas,ie)

Then Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe on the Today with Seán O’Rourke show in October 2016

This afternoon.

“On Wednesday next, the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe will be here taking your calls on Budget 2020.

“Whether it’s carbon tax, income tax, social welfare, the price of a pint or a packet of cigarettes or something else entirely – this is your chance to put your question directly to the minister on air.

“Email your question to todaysor@rte.ie – leaving a contact number.

“That’s the Budget Phone-In next Wednesday at 10am. We look forward to hearing from you.”

RTÉ journalist and broadcaster Seán O’Rourke speaking in an ad just played on RTÉ Radio One.

Previously: A Phoney Phone-In (2015)

Standard Practice (2015)

Meanwhile In Montrose (2016)

Last night.

RTÉ News reported that the British Government is allegedly proposing to build customs posts between five and ten miles along both sides of the border to replace the backstop, as part of the UK’s Brexit deal proposals.

However, Tánaiste Simon Coveney has dismissed the idea.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also dismissed the leaked proposal but told BBC this morning that it’s a “reality” that some customs checks will be needed.

Further to this…

Richard Cantwell tweetz:

Here’s a map [above] showing what a 10-mile buffer zone along *both* sides of the border would look like.

There are over 625,000 people living in the zone.

Last night, RTÉ’s Europe Editor Tony Connelly tweeted:

Meanwhile…

Tánaiste Simon Coveney responded…

Brexit: Boris Johnson dismisses leaked UK border plan rejected by Dublin as out-of-date – live news (The Guardian)

Meanwhile



From top: Before and after pictures of a renovated bungalow in Ashford, County Wicklow on last night’s Room To Improve:; Architect Dermot Bannon (centre) flanked by the owners, Nigel and Frances Coffey.

Last night.

On RTÉ One’s Room To Improve.

Architect Dermot Bannon renovated a 1990s bungalow for a couple with five children in Ashford County Wicklow.

Nigel and Frances Coffey’s budget was €450,000..

Meanwhile…

And how was it for you?

Watch back here

Room To Improve

Earlier: 10,345

Update:

Um.

This morning.

Aj writes:

RTÉ seem very proud of that show. What a Public Service , eh?

Room to Improve: The best Tweets about the bath, bling and taps (RTÉ)

RTÉ’s Mary Wilson; Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe; Public Services Card

Last night.

On RTÉ’s Drive Time.

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty was interviewed by Mary Wilson following the publication, by her department, of the Data Protection Commission’s report into the Public Services Card.

Before their interview began, listeners heard a clip of an interview the Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon had with RTÉ’s Miriam O’Callaghan last month – during which Ms Dixon spoke about what the DPC had ordered Ms Doherty’s department to do.

These orders included that Ms Doherty’s department had to stop issuing new cards, with immediate effect, to people seeking a service that’s outside of her department – and Ms Dixon asked that the department write to her within 21 days to outline how the department carried out that order.

The DPC also ordered that the department delete the supporting documentation – such as utility bills, etc – that the department had retained on the 3.2million card holders. Ms Doherty was to write to Ms Dixon about that within six weeks.

But last night, Ms Doherty was categorical that her department will not be complying with these orders.

From last night’s interview:

Mary Wilson: “You heard what the Data Protection Commissioner said there. She said that on the 16th of August. Have you complied with all of those directions?”

Regina Doherty: “Well, I think, as is on the record, we took a number of weeks to consider the votes, the letter that the commission sent us and the report with all of its eight findings. And the simple and short answer to your question is ‘no’. Because we don’t agree with any of the eight findings and we have written to the commission to outline that.”

Wilson: “So, where to now?”

Doherty: “Well I suppose the position is that we’ve made, we’ve reacted to the instructions that the Data Protection Commission gave us in the letter of the 15th. We’ve requested a meeting, on a number of occasions, to see if we could establish. There are some inconsistencies with regard to the findings and the instructions in the letter and some of…”

Wilson: “Like what?”

Doherty: “It’s kind of technical, it’s…”

Wilson: “Well, we need to get technical, minister then because this is a damning report on your department and the operation of the Public Services Card and your response is that you’ve got problems with some complicated issues or fair procedures.”

Doherty: “No, well, actually, that’s not what I said. And our response I think is very clear and unambiguous, in so far as that we disagree and the legal advice that we’ve obtained, from the Attorney General, is that we have an incredibly strong legal basis to do exactly what was set out in the 1998 legislation, established in the 2005 legislation and amended thereafter in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013.

“And so we’re not trying to be ambiguous in any way, shape or form. Which is why we’ve been as transparent as we have been today – not only to publish the findings and the report from the Data Protection Commission but to publish the correspondence that’s gone on between ourselves and the commission since then.

“I’ll give you a small example of the difference between the findings in the report and the instructions in the letter.

“One of the findings in the report is that we, should not, under Data Protection law, retain data indefinitely. I’m not sure what the legal definition of indefinitely means but the instructions in the Data Protection Commission’s letter is that we have to immediately delete all of the data that we hold on people, even for people who’ve only got a PSC card last week.”

Wilson: “Supporting documentation, minister.”

Doherty: “That’s correct, yeah.”

Wilson: “Not the name, and so on, it’s the supporting documentation…”

Doherty: “So to be clear, Mary, that data set…”

Wilson: “…the data sent to get the card.”

Doherty: “The data set is entirely different to the supporting documentation and the discrepancy or the inconsistency is with regard to the supporting documentation. And that’s only one example. But unfortunately, we haven’t been able to meet with the Data Protection Commission staff and that’s why we are where we are today which is why we’re publishing the report…”

Wilson: “So, just to be clear before you move on. Just to be clear before you move on. You will not be getting rid of or eliminating or destroying the supporting documentation that you retain on 3.2million people who’ve received the card?”

Doherty: “No, Mary, because our advice is that it would be illegal and so if I acted as the directions in the Data Protection Commission’s letter has suggested, I would actually be contravening the legislation that underpins the practice and the policy as far as 1998 and that would be illegal.

“And that’s the advice that I have. And with respect to my role and my job, which is defending the delivery of services, in an efficient manner, to the public which we serve, we regard the legal basis underpinning this service to be incredibly strong.”

Wilson: “Will you stop any demand for the Public Service Card for the delivery of services other than welfare services?”

Doherty: “So, to say again, Mary. The eight findings, in its entirety, are not accepted by ourselves in Government and so we won’t be complying with any of the instructions with regard to the findings or the instructions in the letter.”

Wilson: “Spell that out for the public. When I go to apply for a passport now, are you going to ask for a Public Services Card?”

Doherty: “So, to spell it out for the public, in so far as 3.2million people in Ireland already have data, or PCS [sic] cards. Anybody that doesn’t have one is usually invited to come in and be registered under the SAFE 2 process and that allows them access. All of the public services across Government departments, on a once and done basis, and so what you would be suggesting that we do, is to go back and asking people to fill out forms in triplicate, across a number of departments…”

Wilson: “No, no, no. I asked a simple question: what are people to do now if they’re applying for a passport and they’re asked for a Public Services Card?”

Doherty: “Exactly as they always have done.”

Wilson: “What are people to do if they’re applying for their [driving] theory test? For their driver’s, their learner permit? And they’re asked for a Public Services Card? Are you saying it’s mandatory of compulsory or which? That they produce it?”

Doherty: “In most cases, in most cases, Mary, across all of Government departments, with maybe the exception of my own, there are different ways that you can apply for services and so there is a long-form way. And so, for argument’s sake, you can go and you can get your forms filled out in triplicate and bring your passport or driving licence…”

Wilson: “So you’re fudging it?”

Doherty: “No, I’m not. That’s a way that you can go and access services. The efficient way for people to access services is those who have a PSC card can do most of their conversing with the State online. And that still is true.

“So for people who don’t have a PSC card, nobody is absolutely going to make them get one but for those people who do have and want to deal with the State efficiently then, you know, 3.2million people tell us nine out of ten people, we conducted a survey…which tells us that it does actually make the transactional engagement much more efficient…”

Wilson: “What you’re saying is ‘we’ll make it so difficult for people to interact with the services that it’s going to be the only way forward’.”

Doherty: “No, no…no, no…”

Wilson: “That is what you’ll be doing.”

Doherty: “No, Mary, it’s not making it any more difficult. It’s just maintaining the way it always was….which was cumbersome.”

Wilson: “Meanwhile…meanwhile we have a report that you’re rejecting in full – all of the findings. And where are you going now? What is the next step?”

Doherty: “Well the next step is that we have to wait for the Data Protection Commission to enforce the findings, if they so wish. And because at the moment we don’t have anything that we can legally appeal. So I suppose we await for the Data Protection Commission to send us an enforcement notice.”

Wilson: “So you say ‘the ball is in your court, Helen Dixon’.”

Doherty: “Well, that’s just the reality, Mary so…”

Wilson: “The ball has been in your court since, was it August 2017 you got the draft report?”

Doherty: “No, I think it was that, that was the year the commission started their investigation and so…”

Wilson: “OK, you knew about the concerns since 2017. When did you first receive the draft findings of the Data Commissioner?”

Doherty: “So, in August of 2018, we received a draft report from the commission which we responded to comprehensively in November of 2018.”

Wilson: “The réponses – did they run to hundreds of pages?”

Doherty: “They did, yeah, they did.”

Wilson: “And at that point, did you inform your Cabinet colleagues of the content of that report?”

Doherty: “Well the first instruction from the Data Protection Commission was that the report was to be treated as private and confidential and wasn’t to be shared with anybody. We sought permission from the commission to share it with the Department of Public Expenditure, given that they are joint responsible for the roll-out of national services on an e-Government basis. That permission was granted and both myself, my department, and DPER compiled a very comprehensive response to the initial findings in the draft report and that did run to some 170 pages. And that was returned to the commission in November 2018.”

Wilson: “And where do you see this going though? You say you’re waiting for an enforcement order to come from the data commissioner. Do you then take it to the courts? What is the protocol? I don’t know what the process is here? What is the Attorney General advising you to do?”

Doherty: “So again it very much depends what’s in the enforcement notice and, given that we haven’t seen it yet, it’s difficult for me to be precise.”

Wilson: “But what are the options?”

Doherty: “In normal circumstances, if an enforcement notice was issued to a department that it didn’t agree with, it would take an appeal of that enforcement notice. In this particular case, it would probably start in the Circuit Court. The other possibility is to conduct a judicial review but, again, without seeing what’s in the enforcement notice, it’s a bit difficult to be precise.”

Wilson: “Would you want to expedite this quickly?”

Doherty: “Well look I’m very comfortable with the fact that the legal advice that I have given, gives me confidence that we are doing exactly what was established and set out as far back as 1998 and, as I said, it’s been reinforced in various different pieces of legislation by various different ministers for social protection and employment affairs.”

Wilson: “But it’s starting down the road now of legal challenges. You could be accused of kicking the can down the road and avoiding doing what you ultimately  you may have to do anyway.”

Doherty: “But how could I kick the can down the road of doing something I have no intentions of doing because I have no, because I don’t agree with it? And so where I have legal basis is, is that the legislation that was established in 1998, reformed in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011 and 2013 gives me robust legal basis to conduct the Government policy across any Government platform as was envisaged…”

Talk over each other

Wilson: “And you know as well that lawyers will differ and judge will ultimately in a court will have to decide and then ultimately you may have to accept an outcome contrary to what you believe yourself.”

“In any event, there is also another process now where the [Irish] Examiner is reporting today about the second generation of the Public Service Card. A further two million or so cards that are going to be processed. Is that continuing? Is that tender, is that contract signed? Is that tender done and those cards being prepared?”

Doherty: “There’s no iteration of a new version of card, I’m not sure where the Examiner is getting its information from. The Public Services Card is being renewed, the contract has just been renewed with a new agency to do what will be our second generation but it’s just the lifespan of a Public Service Card is seven years. We’ve come to the end of that and are starting a new card. I’m not sure, I haven’t seen the article in the Examiner so…”

Wilson: “I presume the new card will have more and varied capacity or ability…”

Doherty: “Well, there’s no plan in the legislation to have…”

Wilson: “You can tap it?”

Doherty: “No.”

Wilson: “That’s not going to be on the card?”

Doherty: “Well, it’s not in the current legislation so I can’t see why we would…”

Wilson: “And how much  are you spending now on the, the additional 2.6million cards?”

Doherty: “Again, it’s not additional spending. The project that was envisaged in as to roll out in 2005, sought to actually ensure that everybody was identified and registered under the Safe 2 process. The PCS process is a by-product of that, it’s only a token that’s given at the end of the identification and authentication process.”

Wilson: “And what’s it costing?”

Doherty: “Well, at the moment, I think we’ve just spent over €60million. I think that’s a very good and strong investment in the delivery of public services.”

Wilson: “We don’t know that yet. You actually don’t know that yet. You’re going to challenge the Data Commissioner’s findings so, ultimately, this will go through the courts. And, ultimately, that €60million, plus additional funding that you may continue to spend, could be money down the drain.”

Doherty: “I tell you what I do know, Mary, is that 3.2million people have taken the time to come in and get themselves identified and registered until the Safe Two process because they want and value to be able to do they business online, in an efficient and quick manner…”

Wilson: “Perhaps because they were told that it was compulsory and mandatory to get it by you.”

Doherty: “Well, they’re not,  they were invited in. And actually I think if you look at the finding of the one, of the first finding in the Data Protection [Commission’s] eight findings is that she has entirely deemed it legal for the Department of Social Welfare and Employment Affairs…”

Wilson: “She has…the only department that it is legal to use..”

Doherty: “…And..that’s the department that we were talking…”

Wilson: “And do you accept, you accept that finding?”

Doherty: “To go back to what I was saying to you a second ago is that we have 3.2million people who have registered extremely high satisfaction rates with the usage of the card. They value it and…it’s my job to make sure that I continue to provide those services in an efficient manner for the people that we serve.”

Wilson: “Minister Regina Doherty, thank you for joining us.”

Listen back in full here

Meanwhile..

From top: Direct Provision protest in  Dublin ciuty, 2017: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with RTÉ’s Dr Gavin Jennings in east Cork this morning

This morning.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar gave a 16-minute interview to RTE’s Morning Ireland from Fine Gael’s ‘think-in’ at Garryvoe Hotel in east Cork.

During the interview, Mr Varadkar spoke about Brexit, protecting the Single Market, the Good Friday Agreement, potential border checks between the Republic of Ireland and the North.

Plus why he thinks Fine Gael will do well in the next general election – despite more than 10,000 people homeless, nearly one million people on hospital waiting lists and potential plans to reintroduce a border.

At the end of their discussion, journalist Dr Gavin Jennings raised comments made by Independent TD Noel Grealish at a meeting in Oughterard, Co Galway on Wednesday evening.

A video of Mr Grealish’s comments can be watched below:

Dr Jennings asked Mr Varadkar if he’s “comfortable” accepting support in the Dáil from the Independent TD.

Mr Varadkar said:

“I didn’t hear his comments and I understand there’s no audio recording of his comments but, if that’s what he said, I think he should withdraw those remarks and, at the very least, make a statement on it and clarify them.

“Bear in mind, what we’re talking about here are refugees. They are people who are, in many cases, fleeing war and fleeing persecution and it’s the right thing I think that we, as a country, should take people in.

“We would want someone to take us in if we were in a similar situation.”

Dr Jennings put to Mr Varadkar that the Direct Provision system is now 20 years old [a system which was set up as a temporary measure in 1999 without legislation].

He then asked Mr Varadkar if it’s time to end Direct Provision.

The Taoiseach said:

“I often hear people say that but, end it and replace it with what? You know, we’re not in a position to give a house or an apartment to every asylum seeker. We’re just not in a position to do that and it’s also important to bear in mind what Direct Provision is.

“You know, Direct Provision is something that we offer asylum seekers, it’s not compulsory. You can leave at any time. We now allow asylum seekers to work so actually many do work and leave and provide for their own accommodation. Many also live with fiends and families.

“So Direct Provision is something that we offer people. It’s accommodation, it’s food and board, it’s spending money as well. It’s not that it’s compulsory.”

Listen back in full here

Varadkar calls on Grealish to withdraw remarks on asylum seekers (RTE)

Meanwhile…

Poster for an installation at the Little Museum of Dublin from September 29 to October 5

You Can Leave At Any Time (Dublin Theatre Festival)

From top: The PSC card; Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina O’Doherty (left) and Helen Dixon, Data Protection Commissioner

This afternoon.

On RTÉ’s News at One, Pat Leahy, of The Irish Times, spoke to Christopher McEvitt about his article concerning the Government’s decision appeal the Data Protection Commissioner’s report on the Public Services Card.

It comes ahead of a Cabinet meeting this afternoon whereby it’s expected that ministers will be briefed about this decision.

Christopher McEvitt: “Tell us a little bit about the sense of embarrassment felt by the minister in charge of this project, Regina Doherty?”

Pat Leahy: “Yeah, Government have been very quiet about this. Albeit that the report was issued during August – the full report, by the way, hasn’t been published, merely the announcement of the report by the Data Protection Commissioner.

“But there was calls for Regina Doherty, who’s the Minister for Social Protection, who had promoted and defended the use of the card during her period as minister, calls from the Opposition for her to resign, came under a lot of criticism, not just from Opposition politicians, but also from activists in the field.”

“She’s said very little about it since then now and frankly I suppose some of that period was during the traditional political holidays, during August. But we haven’t heard from her in any great detail about the Government’s response to it. But today we find that she is bringing a memo to Cabinet which will inform that Government intends to appeal this, or to challenge the findings of the Commissioner’s report in the High Court.”

McEvitt: “And presumably she has found good reason to appeal the Data Protection Commissioner’s findings on the Public Services Card, we have no idea, have we, as to what the legal argument would be?”

Leahy: “No we don’t have any sight of the detail of the Attorney General’s advice on it, but I’m told what ministers will be briefed on this afternoon, when they meet for the first Cabinet meeting since the August break, is that advice has been taken not just from the Attorney General’s Office but also from an external counsel engaged by the Attorney General’s Office.

And the advice is that the decision of the, or the findings of the Data Protection Commissioner, in relation to the Public Services Card, were wrong in law, that she exceeded her legal powers and that they are likely to be set aside by a court.

“So I think the next stage that will be taken will be that the Data Protection Commissioner will be informed of this and if her report is not withdrawn that then, which I suppose is unlikely to happen, that High Court proceedings will be issued.”

McEvitt: “Any response thus far to your story on the front page of The Irish Times today from those civil liberties groups, those rights campaigners who were very concerned and who, indeed, welcomed the Data Protection Commissioner’s decision or findings on the Public Services Card, i.e. that it was being used beyond its scope unlawfully, by the Government?”

Leahy: “Well, I suppose campaigners who had been saying these sorts of things about the extension of the use of the Public Services Card for some times felt vindicated by the Data Protection Commissioner’s report and many of them pointing out that this could spawn a series of legal actions against the Government.

“I suppose many of them will not be surprised by the Government’s decision to challenge he findings of the Data Protection Commissioner. I suppose at a basic, political, level, it kicks the issue into touch.

“I think there will likely be criticism by both the Opposition and activists on the Government’s decision but from the point of view of Government Buildings, once that criticism is out of the way and I suppose once this story has died down, then it means it’s not something that has to be immediately addressed by the Government until such time the legal action has resolved itself which, as we know, is not something, that generally happens very quickly.”

Listen back in full here

Earlier: ‘They’ve Been Collecting Data About Voters For A Very Long Time’

Put It On The Card