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Dublin: 1 °C Tuesday 25 September, 2018
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As Fine Gael members vote for their new leader this week, today could possibly be Enda Kenny’s last Leaders’ Questions as Taoiseach. 

Micheál Martin is up first and he wants to talk about a problem he has with Ireland’s capital investment.

He is now talking about AIB – and how we use the money. He said the proceeds should be allowed used for capital spending. He says the EU rules which find that the cash should be used to pay down our debt should be looked at again.

He says it is a much broader issue. He asks the Taoiseach if he agrees that there should be more flexibility in EU rules on how we can spend our own money.

The Taoiseach says he wants to remind Martin of where we were and how much the tax payer paid out in the crash.

The sale of the bank shares can not benefit the general government balance, says Kenny, adding that there will be no increase in spending and the money raised will be used to pay down Ireland’s debt only.

“You didn’t answer the question I asked you at all,” says Martin. Did you have any negotiations with Europe about the capital rules, he asks.

He says the public are concerned about the overly restrictive measures of accessing capital expenditure in Europe.

Particularly in light of Brexit, Ireland should be investing in capital spending, he says.

Kenny says the government has put forward €5 billion for housing.

He says the the treatment of capital spending has been raised with the European ministers.

Gerry Adams is up now and he says €20 billion was put into AIB to keep it afloat. He says the government should hold on to it as an asset as a “steady income” for the future.

He says the sale of AIB is part of FG’s party line of privatisation. Adams says SF are against the sale.

he says the only people that will benefit are “the insiders, the fat cats, the elites and of course the vultures”.

He says it will remove any influence the government has over the bank.

“This is probably your last Leaders Questions…  I wish you good luck and the best,” says Adams.

“You are finishing where you started, socialising debt but not wealth,” says Adams.

Adams then points out that Paschal Donohoe is briefing the Taoiseach on “whatever smart-alec remark you are going to give me”.

“I have not mentioned the Northern Bank,” says Kenny. “I’m not sure whether that was Irish money.”

“I understand now that you, yourself, should stand up and make a declaration about your future plans also” Kenny says to Adams.

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Adams says the cap on bankers pay will be gone when the AIB share is sold.

Another one of your mantras was send the Troika home, says Kenny.

“One of my saddest days was when our sovereignty was taken from us and the call was ‘send them home’ – well they’re gone,” Kenny tells the Sinn Féin leader.

“If we’d followed your line I dread to think where we’d be now,” he says.

Clare Daly says she is conscious that it his last day taking Leaders’ Questions.

She says there will be a stain on his record over how he has handled the Garda scandals. Daly says it not too late to take action.

She says she got information from the Medical Bureau on Road Safety through FOI that each breath test machine had a running total of the amount of tests done and those numbers were sent back to each station.

She lists a number of other issues, and such as the claim of the missing phones.

“To lose one phone is careless, to lose two smacks of perverting the course of justice,” she tells the Dáil chamber.

“Come on, it has gone too far — that is a sackable offence,” she tells the Taoiseach.

Kenny says he is not sure whether the reports about the missing phones is true and says the Charleton Commission will find out the truth behind these allegations.

Daly says Kenny is an intelligent man, which is why she thinks he is being obtuse now.

“It is actually going to stain your legacy, and I feel bad for that,” Daly tells Kenny.

Judge Charleton is not going to be misled, says Kenny.

Noel Grealish is up now and says sometimes he wondered how the Taoiseach kept up with it all with such energy.

He says he could be back here if the wheels come off the Fine Gael leadership contest.

He know wants to know what his greatest achievements are regrets are.

What are the main challenges to face the new leadership?he asks.

“That is a pretty novel questions, for the day that’s in it,” says the Ceann Comhairle.

“How long have I got?” asks the Taoiseach.

I have no regrets having appointed young Simon and Leo,” says Kenny.

“They might not have been friends on mine when my friend Richard took to the field.”

He says he is happy for it to move on to a younger generation and just wants the next leader to always act in the interests of the people of Ireland.

As of regrets, I don’t have any.

He says the next leader “better be optimistic”.

“There is no point looking like you are being weighed down with the problems of the world – we deal with them head on.”

Kenny then speaks in Latin. Oh…

Martin says he was hoping that they might get another ‘box-off’ with one each other

“Maybe on Tuesday week,” he says.

That’s it for Leaders’ Questions for now – join us back here tomorrow.

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