Mary Lou McDonald told the Taoiseach, “The bully boys of your government wish to sabotage the work of the committee.”
TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY was up for Leaders Questions in the Dáil today.
There’s plenty on the political agenda with the water charges row reaching boiling point, the Bus Eireann strike showing no end in sight as talks broke down without agreement this morning and ongoing questions around the Garda Commissioner Noírín O’Sullivan after Fianna Fáil tabled a motion about her role which will be discussed at 8pm tonight.
Sinn Féin questioned Kenny on water charges and he was also asked about the sale of AIB shares, Shannon Airport and the Fennelly report.
That’s it for today’s Leaders Questions.
Thanks for joining us.
Catherine Murphy is asking about a shares sale at AIB.
“AIB is 99.9% owned state bank. The money poured into AIB is not yours or mine.”
She said it’s a matter for the people of Ireland and a cost-benefit analysis should be made public and there should be a vote in the Dáil before any sale.
Kenny said it’s part of the programme for government that there should be a 25% sale of shares in AIB.
Murphy said it looks like we’re heading back to the same banking model as we had before the crash.
Kenny said we will get the best price possible in the interest of the people.
There’s no pressure to sell it, the minister will get the best professional advice possible and make a decision based on that advice.
Kenny was also asked about Shannon Airport.
Independent TD Michael Harty said Dublin Airport is a large state owned company and it is pillaging business from the small rural state company that is Shannon Airport.
However, Kenny said that people will go where they wish to go and that it’s a very competitive business.
Kenny told her, “Don’t come in here as somebody excluding righteousness in the view of the people.”
McDonald also accused Housing Minister Simon Coveney of sabotaging the water committee’s work when he said he wouldn’t legislate if the agreement did not include a charge for excessive usage.
Kenny said that Coveney did nothing wrong and was simply insuring the agreement was legal.
McDonald accused Kenny of having no respect for the water protesters.
You set up this committee, this committee does it’s work and you set about sabotaging that because you don’t like the outcome.
She accused the government of using Fianna Fáil to do this and asked Kenny to, “Take your foot off the neck of Fianna Fáil.”
Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald is now questioning Kenny about Irish Water.
She said the democratic will of the people is not being upheld and accused Kenny of planning to try and get charges “in the back door”.
The bully boys of your government wish to sabotage the work of the committee.
“It is over, you have lost and the people have won. It’s time for you to be gracious in defeat.”
However Kenny said, “I think you’re a little bit ahead of yourself.”
He told her water is a precious resource and “somebody has to pay for it at the end of the day”.
“The nonsense you’re getting on with about some sinister plan to privatise Irish Water is just that … nonsense.”
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin is first up.
He’s asking about the Fennelly report. He said the Attorney General acted incorrectly by bypassing the Minister for Justice when she learned about illegal phone recordings at garda stations.
Martin asked the Taoiseach for his opinion on this.
Enda Kenny said the Attorney General is an adviser to the government and acted quite appropriately and properly.
He said the act of the phone recordings was unlawful and unconstitutional and went on for a long period of time. He added that no case pending in the court was compromised by the situation.
“The Attorney General was quite right in her actions.”
Martin added that he is “astonished” Kenny doesn’t have some regrets about how the then Garda Commissioner was dealt with.
The former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan retired the day after he was briefed about this situation.
Kenny said the former commissioner resigned and he had nothing to do with it.
It’s Cliódhna Russell here keeping an eye and ear on today’s Leaders’ Questions.