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Dublin: 6 °C Wednesday 23 May, 2018
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The power of water protests with no protesters

Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

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Everyone’s talking about…

There was a protest that never happened outside Leinster House yesterday.

7/7/2015 Garda - Leinster House. Pictured a heavy Source: Sam Boal

Following last week’s clashes between demonstrators, which saw two Senators temporarily abandon their cars on Kildare Street, gardaí were accused of being unprepared.

They took no chances yesterday and were out in force with barriers.

The expected protest against water charges never materialised. Instead there were small unrelated demonstrations, including a number of people protesting alleged garda mishandling of cases involving the death of family members. These included the families of John Kelly and Dolores Maxwell.

The National Water Meter Resistance group took to its Facebook page to explain what happened. In a statement the group said it didn’t think it needed to turn up to “turn the Dáil into a garrison so that this government and the leading opposition would feel what it is like to live in abnormal conditions, conditions caused by austerity”.

While this was going on outside Leinster House, the group said the “real protest was taking place in Blanchardstown”.

The statement concluded: “You can expect us again tomorrow too.”

Will there be another ‘protest’ outside the Dáil today or a non-protest, if you will? We’ll keep you posted.

The agenda

  • 9.30am/2.30pm: Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen will appear before the banking inquiry for a second day. He’ll be asked about the bank guarantee and the IMF bailout.
  • 9.30am: Children’s Minister James Reilly will answer questions in the Dáil.
  • Noon: Leaders’ Questions.
  • 4.30pm: The Public Service Committee will discuss petitions received by members of the public.
  • 6pm: The Seanad will debate the Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2014, which covers a number of issues including water charges.
  • This evening: Taoiseach Enda Kenny will meet with opposition party leaders to discuss Seanad reform and what plans the government has to implement recommendations of the Seanad Working Group on Reform, which published a report in April.
  • 7.30pm: Private Members’ Business will see a vote take place on a Fianna Fáil-proposed motion on variable rate mortgages.

Inside Leinster House

Fine Gael TD Catherine Byrne said her family has been subjected to “vile comments” in the wake of her controversial remarks in a Dáil speech about people refusing to pay water charges.

What the others are saying

  • Several papers report on the fact the government has been accused of backing down on getting banks to reduce variable mortgage rates, as the EU has told banks not to cut them.
  • The Irish Examiner notes that the chair of the banking inquiry, Ciarán Lynch, has written to all national media outlets warning journalists they face criminal prosecution if any leaked witness statements.
  • The Irish Times reports that Brendan Howlin has said €14 million has been set aside for running the Dáil and Seanad elections.

In case you missed it

On the Twitter machine

We can but dream, Simon Coveney…

Originally published: 9am

Read: Fianna Fáil: Brian Cowen did the right thing, we could have ended up like Greece

Read: Was Brian Cowen a good finance minister?

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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