My main Dáil speeches this month were on the Budget (Tuesday, October 8th) and on the complex Finance Bill (Wednesday, October 23rd). In both speeches, I described the government’s fiscal policies as regressive and as using the cloak of Brexit to cut the incomes of lower paid workers and citizens on social assistance and pensions. I focused on the cost of tax expenditures also and on the ongoing failure of the Varadkar government to address their serious continuing failures on health, disability and housing policies in particular.
I had already launched the Noise Pollution (Management and Abatement) Bill 2019 on October 1st and the bill is now at second stage. I strongly supported the Sinn Féin motion on a Living Wage. I also spoke on a Fianna Fáil Bill on e-scooters and emphasised the need for any new legislation to ensure the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and users of e-scooters themselves. I raised the issue of overcrowding in women’s prisons and some men’s prisons with Tánaiste Simon Coveney and the ongoing need for further resources for TUSLA with Minister Katherine Zappone. I have been working finally on a new Road Safety Bill with the Office of Parliamentary Legal Advisers.
In Dublin Bay North, the communities of Coolock and Artane had a very serious setback on October 16th last when Scoil Chaitríona Senior Girls School was badly damaged by fire. When I visited the school early on that Wednesday morning, parents and pupils were devastated by the state of the main building. The following Thursday morning, I raised the matter at Education Parliamentary Questions with Minister Joe McHugh and urged him to ensure full school accommodation for all displaced pupils and to have the building restored as soon as possible.
My quarterly newsletter, Northsider Vol 27 No 3, was delivered throughout the whole of Dublin Bay North constituency during the month of October, with the final deliveries in Howth a few days ago. Hallow’een (though very wet) was a wonderful festival (especially for younger children) but in a few parishes, once again there were some dangerous fires. Special thanks as always to the Dublin Fire Brigade and An Garda Síochána whose incredible work I saw at first hand last Thursday. Also, a big thanks to the North Central Area staff of Dublin City Council and to all our residents, community bodies and sports clubs for their outstanding work in helping to organise firework displays and festivals in parishes like Donaghmede and Edenmore.