On Monday, I had a further meeting with officials from our Office of the Parliamentary Legal Advice (OPLA) regarding some important future legislation. On Tuesday, I attended a briefing for Oireachtas members by Bord na gCon and I asked again about the welfare of greyhounds.
Happy International Women’s Day 2019! There remains much to be done to bring about gender equality in Ireland and worldwide and I’m very proud of the achievements of my women Dáil colleagues. Currently, of course, the 7-member Dáil Technical Group, of which I am a member, has four women Deputies and three men.
On Monday, I posted a note to my website and facebook to inform constituents that my Saturday information clinics in Donaghmede are now at the earlier time of 10.30am and that my mobile information clinic is in Donaghmede Shopping Centre carpark itself (near the Newbrook Road entrance to the shopping Centre). I informed constituents that due to these changes in access to parking at Donaghmede, I will now also be at Clonshaugh Shopping Centre from 9.45am and then Bayside Shopping Centre for 12.30pm.
This week, I started work on my Northsider Vol 27 No 1 and hope to have it with constituents towards the end of March. On Tuesday morning, I attended the Board meeting of the Coolock Development Council, of which I am a founding member. On Tuesday afternoon, I questioned the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, about the possible indexing of social protection payments. I also raised ongoing concerns about JobPath with Minister Doherty.
This week is always tinged with sadness as we remember the tragic 48 young lives lost in the Stardust Fire on St. Valentine’s Night 1981. This year marked 38 years since the devastating fire and relatives and victims have still to receive justice and closure. The Stardust Relatives’ and Victims’ Committee held a short protest outside Leinster House on Thursday, the 14th and also held an evening vigil at the Stardust site. Charlie Bird unveiled a very impressive plaque with the names of the 48 victims of that fateful night.
This week, I am still continuing to support our nurses and midwives during their industrial action and am calling on the Government to participate in dispute resolution seriously. On Tuesday I attended the meeting of the Budgetary Oversight Committee, where we are continuing our interesting examination of tax expenditures which Prof. Collins of UCD estimated at over €20 billion annually. On Wednesday, I joined the GPs at their protest outside the Dáil as they also highlight the many deficiencies in our health service and the inaction of the Fine Gael Government.
On Monday, I held my weekly information clinic in Darndale and finished preparations for my Leaders’ Question on Tuesday. At Tuesday’s Leaders’ Questions I asked the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, about our financial preparedness for Brexit, what costings were being determined in advance of a possible no deal Brexit and again reiterated that there can be no wavering on the Brexit backstop. I also asked about reported bilateral arrangements between the UK and other Brexit-affected countries. Later that afternoon, the Minister for Finance released some figures which give a stark warning for the impact of a no deal Brexit on our economy.
On Monday morning I attended the Joint Policing Committee and later in the week I submitted my report to the Garda Policing Plan. Later on Monday I was delighted to attend the Mansion House and to take part in the centenary celebrations of the first Dáil which sat in that location on the 21st of January 1919. It was a wonderful afternoon and evening. Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan spoke on behalf of the technical group of Independents of which I am a member.
On Monday I held my two information clinics in Darndale and Donnycarney. For a large part of Tuesday afternoon, I attended the Seanad Reform Implementation Group meeting and debated possible amendments to the Report and the Bill. I have since submitted my own annex and minority report to the group. I asked for the 60 members of Seanad Éireann to be elected by all the people on the same franchise and similar constituencies to Dáil Éireann. I also attended the Budgetary Oversight Committee which was discussing the failure to make adequate provision for the Health Budget.
I was delighted to see such a large turnout at the #HomesForAll rally in the city centre on Saturday and hope that there will also be a large turnout at the rally at the Spire tomorrow (December 8th) at 2pm calling for the National Maternity Hospital to be publicly owned.
On Tuesday evening, I hosted a meeting in Dáil Éireann with supporters from across the constituency of Dublin Bay North and we discussed matters of national, international and local importance, such as climate change, Brexit, housing and infrastructural issues around the constituency.