Another busy Dáil week!
On Tuesday, I asked Minister Noonan about concerns that a quarter of Ireland’s large national debt will have to be re-financed in a very tight timeframe in 2019/2020. Later that evening I spoke in a Topical Issues Debate on the Bus Éireann dispute and strongly called on Minister Ross to get involved to reach a fair settlement for the 2,600 workers and 100,000 commuters badly affected. In a Dáil Brexit debate, I called for a direct Irish presence in the EU/UK Brexit negotiations given the vital importance of the Common Travel Area to all of Ireland and of the East/West business, social and cultural connections with Britain.
On Wednesday April 5th, I hosted a briefing by the Union of Students in Ireland on their campaign against the introduction of student loans and on their proposals for the future funding of 3rd level education. The briefing was well attended by government and opposition TDs and their staffs and follow-up work is continuing on this crucial matter. I later questioned Minister Richard Bruton on the same subject and received a worrying reply on Fine Gael’s plans.
The Secretary Generals of the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform attended the Committee of Budgetary Oversight and I questioned them on the Quarter One Tax Returns and on the high level of tax expenditures. I attend the weekly meetings of the Committee reviewing 2017 government income and expenditure and preparing for Budget 2018.
On Dublin Bay North issues, the desperate need for social housing and constituents’ annoyance at the long saga of Dublin City Council’s handling of the reconstruction of James Larkin Road, Clontarf were the key problems raised with me.