Tag Archives: Social Democrats


This afternoon.

Government Buildings. Dublin 2.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe attempts  to explain the government’s position on antigen testing.

Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews

Earlier…

This afternoon.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly is expected to secure Government approval to subsidise antigen testing…

…..Social Democrats Spokesperson for Children Jennifer Whitmore says:

“Discussions currently are focused on trying to design a subsidy scheme, which is entirely misguided. The building is on fire. We need to act now to put it out – not stand around and debate the cost of fire extinguishers.

“We are in an emergency situation and the most important thing we need to do is identify cases and suppress transmission. Free antigen testing would help us to do that. Given the huge surge in cases, it would be destructive to our efforts to manage this crisis if cost were to become a barrier to antigen testing.

“The government, and Nphet, have been dismissive of the public’s ability to correctly use antigen tests, but people are not stupid. They have followed all of the public health advice to the best of their ability for nearly two years.

“When this surge has abated, we can then discuss a subsidy. But the situation is too grave now for any further indecision or delay.”

Meanwhile…

Via Fintan O’Toole in the Irish Times:

…There was an extraordinary moment last June at a hearing on antigen tests held by the Oireachtas transport committee. One of the experts, Prof Mary Keogan, consultant immunologist and national clinical lead for pathology, held up two antigen tests, one negative and one positive. She announced that she had created the negative result by putting butter on the test. She produced the positive result with tonic water.
Worse than useless

The implication was clear – self-administered tests are worse than useless because people can cheat. This was very much in line with the description by Nphet’s chief modeller Prof Philip Nolan of a test being sold in a supermarket chain as “snake oil”.

What was not produced, however, was any evidence that lots of Irish people are in fact cheating on antigen tests. Perhaps to a certain kind of scientific mind it seems obvious that if people can do something they must be doing it.

That suspicion seems unshakeable. Even after the Government decided on Monday last week to move ahead with a wider use of antigen testing, its chief medical adviser Dr Tony Holohan continued to lobby against the policy….

Messaging on the pandemic has become just a mess (Fintan O’Toole, Irish Times)

RollingNews

From top: Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien Contents of the Affordable Housing Bill 2021

This morning.

The Affordable Housing Bill 2021 journeys through the Dáil this week.

But why is it “being rammed through the Dáil at breakneck speed”?

Asks Social Democrats Housing Spokesman Cian O’Callaghan, who writes:

“The Government want us to debate, consider and vote on over 100 amendments to the 45-page Bill in just three hours. That is less than two minutes per amendment. This is not feasible. Many of these proposals and changes, including those tabled by the Green Party, will end up in the bin. This is no way to do business.

“Very serious warnings about aspects of this Bill have been issued by the Central Bank, the ERSI and senior officials in a number of Government Departments. Unfortunately, the Minister is ignoring all of them. Instead, he has chosen to remain on the side of the big builders, and construction sector interests, who have lobbied for a Shared Equity Scheme that will keep house prices high.

If the Minister believed in his plan, he would allow this Bill to be examined and debated. It is clear that he doesn’t. This Bill requires a full and comprehensive debate.

“The people struggling to secure an affordable home deserve better than this half-baked Bill.”

Anyone?

Affordable Housing Bill 2021

Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews

Social Democrats co-leader Roisin Shortall and TD Holly Cairns earlier

“People have a misconception about zero-Covid. We achieved it last July when it was down to four people per day.

“Once the numbers are down you have strong border controls and a strong testing and contact tracing system It’s a short sharp lockdown, but the rewards are enormous. The alternative is the Government’s strategy of rolling lockdowns.”

Roisin Shortall, February 10, 2021

Meanwhile…

This afternoon.

Follow the science.

Previously: Zero-Covid approach grows in political popularity

Sharks!

Michael’s in the pond!

Ragamuffin writes:

The Irish Basking Shark Protection Group have started a petition in order to demonstrate the public support for Soc Dem TD Jennifer Whitmore’s bill currently before the Oireachtas that would make it illegal for anyone to intentionally or recklessly injure or harass them off Irish coasts.

Jennifer is a former marine biologist, and says basking sharks should be given the same protections as whales and dolphins in Ireland. Basking sharks are the second biggest fish in the sea, and are mysterious gentle giants.

Ireland is one of the only countries in the world where they go close to land, and so scientists from all over the world come to study them along our Atlantic coast.

Sign here

Irish Basking Shark Study Group

Legislation introduced make basking sharks a protected species (Social Democrats)

Taoiseach Micheál Martin at the  Respond social housing development in Balgriffin, Dublin 13 yesterday; New Build activity in the second quarter of 2020

This afternoon

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien has published the Q2 2020 Social Housing Construction Status Report, outlining the delivery of social housing across the country.

It states that, at the end of the second quarter of 2020, fewer than a thousand homes were delivered under ‘New Build activity’.

Social Democrats Housing Spokesperson and Dublin Bay North TD, Cian O’Callaghan, said:

“The Government set a target to build 7,736 social homes in 2020. In the first half of the year, they reached less than 10% of that target, building just 725.

“This is a shocking level of under-delivery. Needless to say, Covid-19 has had a significant impact, but this is the third year in a row that the Government has missed its own target for building new social homes.

“We cannot allow this to continue. Thousands of people in this State are homeless. This housing crisis will only end if the Government builds new homes.”

Minister O’Brien Publishes Social Housing Construction Status Report for Q2 2020 (Rebuilding Ireland)

RolllingNews

From left: Social Democrats co-leaders Roisin Shortall with Catherine Murphy, Jennifer Whitmore TD and Holly Cairns TD this morning

This morning/afternoon.

Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

The launch of a Social Democrats Private Members’ Bill which will be brought to the Dáil tomorrow to ‘eliminate consistent child poverty’ by 2025.

Jennifer Whitmore TD, the party’s spokesperson for Children, said:

“Our motion calls on the Government to firmly state that they will eliminate consistent child poverty over the next five years and asks that they make that commitment in law to the children of Ireland. With political will, this can be achieved during the lifetime of this Dáil.

“We want the Government to legislate for this ambitious target, and establish a cross-departmental Child Poverty Unit, headed by the Department of the Taoiseach.

“The statistics are stark. One in five children under the age of 18 – that’s over 200,000 – are living in poverty in Ireland today. Of these, more than 90,000 children are living in consistent poverty.

“All previous Government targets to reduce child poverty have failed time and time again. These targets are meaningless unless there is a coherent, comprehensive and properly resourced approach, matched with the ambition to deliver.”

Sam Boal/RollingNews

Go shawties.

This morning/afternoon.

Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Social Democrats co-leaders Catherine Murphy and Roisin Shorthall celebrate their party’s 5th birthday outside Leinster House.

Deputies Murphy and Shorthall, along with Stephen Donnelly, now Fianna Fáil Minister for Health, launched the party on July 15, 2015 proposing a Nordic model of social democracy,

Which means their birthday cake is also technically ours if we can prove we are peckish and lack the means for treats.

FIGHT!/Nom

Previously: ‘We Are The Soc Dems”

Pic by Aaron

From top: The East End Hotel Direct Provision centre in Portalington, County Laois;  Direct Provision payments from 2016-1019; Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy in the Dáil on May 26

Last night.

In the Dáil.

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy raised comments earlier made by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar about direct provision when he twice said that some direct provision accommodation is “substandard” and “that needs to change”.

Ms Murphy was addressing the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan when she said:

“I want to raise the issue of direct provision with the Minister. I listened to the Taoiseach this afternoon when he described some direct provision centres as being substandard. Will the Minister give us an indication of how many of those locations he regards as being substandard?

“I share the views that many members of this House make about the system needing to be dispensed with and a more humane system being put in place. In the meantime, things can be done immediately.

Will the Minister address the issue of how many direct provision centres would be deemed to be substandard? Where are those centres located? Would Miltown Malbay be included as one of those centres? I suspect that it is.”

Unfortunately, in his response, Mr Flanagan did not answer Ms Murphy’s questions about direct provision.

Monday: Direct Debit

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

From top: The COVID-19 testing facility on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay on the Liffey in Dublin city centre, Róisín Shortall co-leader of the Social Democrats

This afternoon.

Following the closure of some testing centres, Róisín Shortall, of the Social Democrats, has called on Government to ‘provide an explanation’.

Ms Shorthall said:

“The public deserves clear answers about the reason we are not operating at full testing capacity. The national strategy to combat Covid-19 is test and trace, but some testing centres were closed over the weekend.

For example, the test centre in Tallaght was closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday and is only working a half day today. Others have been operating very restricted hours or not opening at all on some days.

Given that the infrastructure and staff are in place, and indeed many volunteers have been sent home, what is holding up the full-scale operation of test and trace?

Last week Ireland had a testing capacity of 60,000 and yet only 41,470 tests were carried out.

“The case definition remains very narrow and this is a cause of much frustration for GPs, many of whom believe a wider cohort of their patients need to be tested.

We’ve been told that not enough is known about the behaviour of the virus at community level, yet puzzlingly very little community testing is taking place.

The public has put in a huge effort to stay at home for many weeks now, but the success of their efforts and the country’s recovery is entirely dependent on the test and trace strategy.

“Why are we not using the full testing capacity when the national strategy is based on test and trace? The facts don’t add up, and the public deserves a clear answer from the Government.”

Anyone?

Previously: Without A Trace

Rollingnews

This afternoon.

John L Gillen tweetz:

I made planters for my tomatoes from some of [Social Democrat] Gary Gannon posters from the European election.

In fairness.

Meanwhile…