Tag Archives: Simon Coveney

From top: *Sam eating from a cardboard sheet on Grafton Street on Tuesday night; Sinn Féin deputy leader Pearse Doherty; Tánaiste Simon Coveney in the Dáil today

This afternoon.

During Leaders’ Questions in Dáil Éireann.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Pearse Doherty raised the picture of a five-year-old boy *Sam (not his real name) eating a pasta dinner given to him by a homeless charity while kneeling on a piece of cardboard on Grafton Street in Dublin on Tuesday night.

Just over two weeks ago, the most recent figures from the Department of Housing showed there were 10,345 people (6,490 adults and 3,848 children) living in emergency accommodation in the final week of August.

The figure represent a decrease of seven adults but an increase of 70 children compared to the figures for the final week of July. 

This afternoon, Mr Doherty addressed Tánaiste Simon Coveney when he said:

“The photograph showed a five-year-old boy eating his dinner off a sheet of cardboard on the ground in this city.

“Sam is the boy in that photograph, he’s five years old. He goes to school like any other child but Sam is homeless.

“Sam and his mum live in emergency accommodation like thousands of other families in this state.

“The Homeless Street Café, the homeless group, who met Sam on Tuesday night, made clear that his mother is trying her best to provide nutritious home-cooked meals for her children

“But, like so many parents of the homeless children of this state, they live in emergency accommodation that strictly forbids them from cooking meals for their children.

“That is Sam’s life, Tánaiste. Without a home, without the comfort and security which should be a right for every children [sic] in this State.

“That’s the life of nearly 4,000 children like Sam that have been condemned to this type of nightmare.

“There is only one place our children should be on a Tuesday night. And that is safely tucked up in their beds, in their home, with their families.

“The moral stain of child homelessness in Ireland is creating a lost generation. Children who are having their childhood stolen from them, right before our eyes.

“Stunting their development, harming their education, exposing them to hardships that no child deserves and that no society should accept.

“Behind the statistics, Tánaiste, the Minister for Housing tries to bamboozle the public with, there is a stark and dark reality of our housing crisis.

“A crisis that your government has manufactured, a crisis that many are profiting from, from the suffering of others.

“We’ve over 10,000 people recorded as homeless at the end of August of this year.

“That’s the seventh month in a row where we have those figures recorded – a 365 per cent increase during a five-year period of unending, uninterrupted, economic growth.

“And these figures don’t even provide the full picture, Tánaiste, they don’t include the women and children living in domestic violence shelters, funded by Tusla, they don’t include the adults and children living in hostels that aren’t funded by Government departments.

“And they don’t include those still living in Direct Provision, despite having secured their leave to remain.

“This is the Republic that you and your government are building. These are the parents and children you’re failing, children like Sam.

“This is not a republic of opportunity that cherishes all of the children of the nation equally.

“It is a national shame.”

More to follow.

Earlier: Dear Sam

Yesterday: ‘Sam’

Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary; Tánaiste Simon Coveney

This afternoon.

During Leaders’ Questions.

Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary asked Tánaiste Simon Coveney about the Brexit deal agreed between the UK and the EU this morning – but rejected by the DUP.

He specifically asked if Mr Coveney could confirm the deal will ensure there are no border or customs checks on the island of Ireland.

He also asked if he could confirm the Good Friday Agreement is “intact” by way of this deal.

And he asked if members of the Irish government – Mr Coveney himself, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar or any of their officials – “engaged” with members of the Democratic Unionist Party in “recent days” to “see if the Irish Government can assuage their concerns, whatever they are, around this deal”.

Mr Coveney said he urged caution and while there is an agreement between UK and Brussels, “that isn’t the end of the process”.

But he said the deal recognises “all of the issues we have been raising over the past three years”.

He said it will “protect” the people on the island of Ireland, and peace and trade on the island.

He added:

“It will ensure that there are no checks, whether they be sanitary and phytosanitary, whether they regulatory cheeks, whether they be live animals, or indeed whether they be customs checks in the context of goods travelling and being traded north and south, and south and north. I think that is a very significant achievement.”

He also said:

“The bit that has changed in the Withdrawal Agreement relates to Ireland. Much of the Irish protocol remains the same on issues like the CTA and so on. But the provisions which were previously referred to as the backstop have changed.

“But we have always said that if we can replace the backstop with something else that does the same job on the key issues that I outlined earlier in terms of protecting the peace process preventing a hard border and protecting  Ireland’s place in the EU single market and customs union, if we can achieve that, then we will always look favourably on a new approach.

“As long as the outcomes were guaranteed and I believe they are. And that is why I think this is a deal that is worth supporting because it protects core Irish interests.”

Watch Dáil proceedings live here

Earlier: Done Deal

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…

Earlier.

On Virgin Media One’s The Tonight Show with Matt Cooper and Ivan Yates:

Tánaiste Simon Coveney reacts to tonight’s breaking Brexit proposals (video 1):

“We certainly haven’t seen any proposals yet. I read on various social media channels that Prime Minister Johnson is going to bring forward proposals tomorrow. Some are even saying that he’s been briefing certain EU capitals in relation to these ideas since Tuesday, we haven’t seen anything. If the reports we are reading are true it doesn’t look like the basis of an agreement, that’s for sure”.

Mr Coveney added (video 2):

“The rumour mill this evening is suggesting that there would be a four year time limit, and then a choice to be made by Northern Ireland at the end of that period. But again that’s all speculation, but I mean our position has been very clear on a time limited backstop, if it’s time limited and you can’t answer the question what happens at the end of that time period, then it’s not a backstop at all.

Earlier: Wednesday’s Papers

We Expect The British Government To Honour That Commitment’

Border, Border

Gropes Of Wrath

Boris Johnson: UK offering EU ‘very constructive’ Brexit proposals (BBC)

Thanks Nadine Maloney and Richard Waters

Earlier:

Tanaiste Simon Coveney outside EU headquarters after a meeting with European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier

This afternoon.

Brussels, Belgium.

The Tanaiste has said that even if a Brexit deal is agreed, Britain will have to remain part of the EU’s single market and customs union for up to four years to allow time to negotiate a free trade agreement.

Simon Coveney said there had been no “serious proposal” from Britain to break the Brexit deadlock over the Irish backstop and that “significant gaps” remained between the two sides after meeting with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, in Brussels.

Mr Coveney said that if there was a deal, a transition period of two to four years would be needed to negotiate a free trade agreement between the UK and the EU….

Good luck with that.

Ireland says Britain could have to stay part of EU for 4 years after Brexit deal agreed (Telegraph)

Earlier: Good Friday?

Pic: AP

Simon Coveney (left) and Boris Johnson in Dublin in 2017

“Boris Johnson is outlining a very clear and firm position but it is a totally unreasonable position that the EU cannot facilitate and he must know that…”

“We all want to get a deal but, at the moment, nothing credible has come from the UK government in terms of alternatives to the backstop.”

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney this morning.

Meanwhile…

British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps insisted Britain had made alternative proposals to replace the backstop, and it was wrong of Ireland and other EU countries to suggest otherwise.

“It’s just not true,” he said.

“So it’s a cover when they keep saying: ‘You are not putting forward ideas’- we are putting forward ideas”.

Johnson ‘totally unreasonable’ in backstop dispute – Coveney (RTÉ)

Rollingnews

Tánaiste Simon Coveney

Yikes.

Listen back here

Rollingnews

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

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