On Monday, I held my weekly information clinics in Darndale and Donnycarney. On Tuesday afternoon, I attended the meeting of the Budgetary Oversight Committee and questioned officials from the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council (IFAC) on the Fiscal Assessment Report (June 2019). The Committee was later attended by the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform where we discussed the future of the Local Property Tax.
This week, our constituency was rocked by a two dastardly gun murders in broad daylight. I sought to adjourn order to stop the Dáil to immediately debate the serious need for urgent intervention from An Garda Síochána, Dublin City Council and the Government. Instead, I was granted a Topical Issue Debate and, on the floor of the Dáil, on Tuesday, myself and Minister of State in the Department of Justice and Equality, David Stanton, discussed the need for greatly enhanced community supports and additional resources for the Gardaí to combat this rise in gangland crime in the North of Dublin.
Today is polling day and we are being asked to vote for our local election candidates, our European Parliament candidates and whether to take time limits out of the constitution for divorce (aswell as recognising foreign divorces). I have been vocal in my support for the outstanding Deputy Clare Daly for Europe and have been encouraging voters to turn up and vote for left candidates. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have been the architects of the health and housing crises and nothing will change unless we vote for candidates to replace these parties.
On Tuesday I asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation about Brexit readiness of business in Ireland and how many are accessing the supports being made available to them. I also asked about the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) and its ability to issue fines for breaches of European and Irish competition law. Also that afternoon I attended the Budgetary Oversight Committee, where we heard from representatives of the Disability Federation of Ireland. I had requested that the Committee invite advocates from disability services to present on budgetary needs in this area for Budget 2020.
The Dáil returned this week following the Easter break. On Tuesday, I continued my meetings with the Office of Parliamentary Legal Advisers (OPLA) as we work on progressing a Private Members’ Bill. On Wednesday morning, I attended a briefing in Buswells by the Housing Alliance, which is a collaboration of six of the biggest Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) in Ireland comprising Clúid Housing, Circle Voluntary Housing Association, Co-operative Housing Ireland, Oaklee Housing, Respond and Tuath Housing. The Alliance is calling for more social and affordable homes and for AHB’s to be permitted to provide affordable mortgages for young families.
I hope that everyone had a wonderful Easter break in the lovely weather and that everyone is registered to vote in the upcoming Local and European elections (check out https://www.voter.ie/ or www.checktheregister.ie). The registration deadline for the Supplementary Register is May 7th and the important thing to note about the locals is that everyone who was resident in the State from the 1st of September last year is eligible to have their voice heard. I’m obviously backing broad left candidates and my colleague, Deputy Clare Daly for Europe.
This week, my staff attended briefings by AsIAm, the Passport Service and Alcohol Action Ireland on my behalf. AsIAm published a report with survey results about access to school places for children with autism. The findings were very shocking and should be a wakeup call for the Government. Alcohol Action Ireland was speaking about the ‘Silent Voices’ report which highlights the impact of parental alcohol misuse on children.
I submitted a motion on Spinraza, which is supported by Deputies Thomas Pringle, Joan Collins, Clare Daly, Mick Wallace, Catherine Connolly, Maureen O’Sullivan, Gino Kenny, Bríd Smith, and Richard Boyd Barrett. The motion calls for access to Spinraza for the approximately 70 patients with SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy), including 26 children, in urgent need of treatment and for improved efficiency in the assessment of medicines.
On Tuesday, I spoke on my colleague Deputy Clare Daly’s amendments to the Aircraft Noise (Dublin Airport) Regulation Bill 2018. On Wednesday morning, I asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment about cybersecurity and new regulations for Operators of Essential Services and I enquired whether the Irish government was lethargic on cybersecurity issues.
At the end of last week and beginning of this week, I sent in lengthy submissions to both Dublin City Council’s and Fingal County Council’s Draft Climate Change Action Plans 2019-2024. I ensured that I included important areas such as transport (including improved cycling infrastructure), waste management and flood resilience. The public consultation is open until Monday, the 25th of March and can be done online at the following web address: https://dublinclimatechange.codema.ie/make-a-submission/.