ENDA KENNY IS taking the stand in the Dáil as Opposition deputies take the opportunity to grill the Taoiseach on the cost of running his office and his trip to the World Economic forum, among other issues.
However, he has pre-empted Leader’s Questions with the announcement that Ireland will hold a referendum on the EU fiscal compact treaty.
15.48 – Deputy Finian McGrath challenges the Taoiseach on what he calls silent cuts to carers’ allowances.
16.13 – Richard Boyd Barrett tries to sneak in a question about the just-announced referendum. He is swiftly rebuked by the Ceann Comhairle.
He claims that there is a link to Davos (what deputies are allowed to grill the Taoiseach on today). He says that the Government is saying one thing to the people at home but quite different to thsoe at Davos and the EU.
16.21 – Kenny wants to re-iterate the Government’s commitment to prioritise job creation in Ireland. He continues to detail how he used the WEF in Davos to hold face-to-face meetings with the heads of various companies, including Facebook and EMC. He said he found the experience “fruitful and interesting”.
There is now a suggestion that Ireland should hold a similar conference on the creative industries, such as film, acting etc.
16.25 – Now onto the cost of the Taoiseach’s press office – which has reduced its cost by 9 per cent in 2011, said the Taoiseach.This has been achieved through greater efficiencies.
Adams asks for the total number of people working in the office. Kenny details the three staff working at MerrionStreet.ie.
If that is not the correct number, Kenny said he will come back with another answer.
16.38 – Gerry Adams is bemused that after asking a question about families in mortgage distress, Kenny spoke about credit to medium and small businesses.
Kenny said he has held constructive meetings with the three banks. He said that each bank is anxious to get back into being available to people to help grow the economy.
Following another question by Adams, he said the Government had “of course” raised the question of sustainable agreements between banks and those who are in mortgage distress.
Each bank has set out its strategy on such cases but each will be dealt with individually as each situation is different.
16.57 – Dáil deputies have been reacting to the announcement that a referendum will be held on the EU fiscal compact treaty on Twitter (where else?).
Most believe today has been a good day for democracy. We’ve compiled a slideshow of everything else they had to say.