The Dáil may have risen for the summer but the work continues.  My Dáil and constituency office will be open during the summer and my clinics will remain unchanged for most weekends.  When there is staff annual leave (at the beginning of August for two weeks, as usual) it will be announced on this website.  On Monday, I held my monthly Donnycarney clinic and met many constituents.

On Tuesday, I submitted over 30 Parliamentary Questions to Ministers on a range of national and local issues.  I was also preparing for my Leaders’ Question the following day, when I chose to raise the serious issue of crime nationally and locally with the Taoiseach.  I join my constituents in their concern about the worrying trends of crime rises across the country and highlighted a petition that I received from 200 residents of an area in the North Fringe looking for a greater and permanent Garda presence.

On Wednesday morning, I was delighted to attend the launch of the Strategic Plan 2018-2021 for the Darndale Belcamp Village Centre and as always, I commend the great work of Linda Hayden, Nico and their team at the centre.  On my arrival in the Dáil, I questioned the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, about Ireland’s contributions to the EU Budget and the negotiations taking place around increasing that contribution, especially after Brexit.  After Leaders’ Questions, I attended the Budgetary Oversight Committee and again questioned Minister Donohoe but this time on the Summer Economic Statement.  Deputies Richard Boyd Barrett, Pearse Doherty and myself clashed rigorously with Minister Donohoe when we opposed unnecessary tax expenditures and demanded essential funding for health, housing, education and security.  I concluded that Budget 2019 should be ‘For the Many, Not the Few’.  The Committee is also finalising its own pre-Budget report.  On Wednesday night, I spoke in support of the Health (General Practitioners Service) Bill 2018 which will extend access to GP Cards to approximately 14,000 carers in receipt of Carers’ Allowance and Carers’ Benefit.  I asked for people on the Carers’ Support Grant to also get a GP Card.

On Thursday, I was delighted to see my colleague, Deputy Thomas Pringle’s Private Members’ Bill on Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill 2016 pass through the Dáil.  I hosted a small supporters’ group dinner and discussion to mark the end of term and get some constituents’ views on plans for the coming term.  Representatives also attended briefings on my behalf, including a briefing with Trocáire, the launch of Alone’s Report ‘Housing Choices for Older People in Ireland – Time for Action’, a briefing on regulating medicinal cannabis and also a briefing by adoptees on the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016.

My information clinics will take place as usual this weekend and the following weekend and then will be suspended until mid-August.  Details will be posted on my website of these arrangements during the week of the 23rd of July.  Please do contact my office on 01-618 3557 or with any urgent queries in the meantime.