On Tuesday, I had a Priority Parliamentary Question with the Department of Health and I asked whether the Ministers agreed that persons with disabilities should have a right to a Personal Assistant Service as outlined in Article 19 of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Unfortunately, Minister Finian McGrath refused to commit to legislation for the Optional Protocol guaranteeing such a right.
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount of expenditure set aside in budget 2019 for the additional costs of Brexit preparations; if supplementary funding may be needed in this regard; the cost to date of Brexit preparations for the Office of the Revenue Commissioners and for all other Departments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17776/19]
We have had the Brexit contingency action plan since last December with sectoral analysis and the various costs of mitigation throughout the Government. What other plans has the Minister made in this regard, in particular with regard to Revenue and all other areas where Brexit is already impacting? The uncertainty has been extended to 31 October. At any time we could be dealing with a disorderly Brexit. Are there revised plans?
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/.
There has rarely been a time in history when the Members of one Parliament watched the actions of another assembly – the House of Commons is voting as we speak – with such profound frustration and sadness. Although all communities on the islands of Britain and Ireland, including business, farmers and civic society leaders, plead for some degree of certainty regarding the Brexit decision by the British people in 2016, the tortuous manoeuvres at Westminster and between the UK and the EU just go on and on. Of course, even the Theresa May deal only extends to December 2020 and we hear with dismay that major trade deals, such as that between the EU and the UK, may take up to seven years. This ordeal might continue throughout the 2020s.
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.
Recently, there have been lots of reports about motorists needing a green card as proof of insurance to travel across the border in the event of a No Deal Brexit. The issue has been raised a number of times in the Dáil and the Taoiseach has said that there will be a grace period for people driving into this jurisdiction without a green card. However, as has been the case all along with the Brexit negotiations, we cannot provide for what will happen when the UK crashes out of the EU on March 29th and every necessary step must be taken to ensure that protections are in place where possible, for citizens living on this island.
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.
When this Government started in 2011, we had a second budget – a mini-budget – that year. In 2009, we had a kind of major budget to address the deficiencies in the 2008 budget. If there is a general election this year, it is probably inevitable that we will have a second budget. After the revisions and rescheduling that we discussed in the House last week, is it not likely that regardless of what happens on Brexit, the Government, if it is still in office, will have to come forward with another budget?
I am delighted to have this brief opportunity to contribute on the Bill. I commend the officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and nine other Departments on the work they have done in ensuring that we have some degree of readiness for a disorderly Brexit, which, of course, must be avoided at all costs. Like my colleague, Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan, I welcome the decision by Keir Starmer, Jeremy Corbyn and the UK Labour Party to move towards a second referendum to prevent a no-deal Brexit. I commend the work of the Tánaiste in involving our Irish-American colleagues, particularly at national congressional level, and bringing in the important lever of the 30 or 40 million Americans of recent Irish descent to try to even up the disparity in power between us and the UK.
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.