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Everyone’s talking about
Ever since the Dáil resumed after its Christmas break on 13 January, many of its inhabitants have wondered what on earth they’ve been doing there. For a lot of TDs, there was little interest in legislating, or debating or any of the sort of stuff that they’re supposed to do.
Instead, many deputies were desperate to get back to their constituencies – or were already there – to knock on doors and canvass for votes. Every single criticism and attack that the political party leaders levelled at each other was done with the looming election in mind.
Now, the wait is over. At some stage this morning, Taoiseach Enda Kenny is expected to go into the Dáil and confirm he will be asking the President to dissolve it with an election set for Friday, 26 February. Kenny is then expected to deliver the first of what will be many campaign speeches at a Fine Gael event in Dublin this afternoon. The party’s long-term economic plan is being launched tomorrow.
Click here to view tweet.
The party’s TDs and Senators last night heard some of the LTEP’s (catchy, right?) key points, including the abolition of USC – but with a clawback for people earning over €100,000. The entry point for PRSI will fall to €13,000 but this will be offset by the restoration of dental benefits and extension of maternity leave. In Fine Gael’s manifesto there are also lofty promises to provide more guards, reduce trolley waiting times and create thousands of jobs.
These are the promises you’ll be hearing a lot about over the next three weeks as your head is melted by posters everywhere you look, and politicians on your TV, your radio and, quite possibly, at your door. Then, the choice will be yours as to which of them you want to elect to the 32nd Dáil.
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- The 31st Dáil is due to reconvene at 9.30am, but will cease to exist once Enda Kenny calls the election. For the record, the draft schedule for today is:
- 9.30am: Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan is due to take questions in the Dáil.
- 10.45am: Two bills, the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016 and the Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015 (Seanad), are both set to undergo their second stages.
- Midday: Taoiseach Enda Kenny is set to take to the Dáil for leader’s questions.
- 12.45pm: The Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill 2012 and the Energy Bill 2016 are up for discussion in the Seanad.
- 7.30pm: Sinn Féin are set to present private members business.
What the others are saying
- The Irish Independent is saying that workers earning as little as €13,000 are set to begin paying PRSI.
- Fine Gael will introduce a loan scheme for third level students if the party is returned to government, the Irish Times is reporting.
- The Irish Examiner has said that election counters in Wicklow have been told that there can’t be a repeat of 2011 when it took three days to elect five TDs.
In case you missed it
- Traveller groups staged a protest outside of the Dáil over suitable accommodation following evictions in Louth and Galway.
- Éamon Ó Cúiv has described a portrayal of his grandfather in RTÉ’s Rebellion as an “embarrassment”.
- Sinn Féin unveiled a billboard taking aim at Fine Gael figures ahead of the general election.
- Fianna Fáil activist Brian Mohan said that he will be taking his legal action over gender quotas to the Supreme Court after having his case dismissed by the High Court.
- Several politicians faced criticism for illegally erecting posters before the election was announced.
- Eamon Ryan and Labour TD Michael McCarthy had a big argument about the trauma of government.
- Just in case we weren’t sure, Enda Kenny confirmed on local radio that he’ll be calling the election today.
- Tony O’Brien appeared before the Public Accounts Committee to answer questions about abuse in a foster home in Waterford.
Good day for…
Michael Healy-Rae. The Kerry TD got a jump start on the election announcement by releasing his own song.
Click here to link to video.
Bad day for…
TDs caught out sticking their posters up early.
Click here to view the tweet.
On the Twitter machine
Turns out Aodhán Ó Ríordáin was pretty on the money with this tweet early yesterday morning.
Click here to view tweet.
- Additional reporting by Michael Sheils McNamee