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State of the Nation

The return of Bertie Ahern

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

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Everyone’s talking about… 

The banking inquiry has not provided the sort of box office moments we thought it might even though there have been a number of high-profile witnesses in recent weeks. Today is probably the last opportunity for something big to happen as former taoiseach Bertie Ahern gives evidence.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Before Banking Inquiry Today. End. Leon Farrell Leon Farrell

The controversial former Fianna Fáil leader has had little to say about the banking crisis – beyond it causing him to go grey – in recent years. So his views on whether his economic policies contributed to the crash will be interesting to hear. Ahern will be asked to account for his role minister for finance in the early 90s and taoiseach between 1997 and 2008.

Ahern stepped down in May 2008, just months before the bank guarantee was issued. While his decision was, on the face of it, primarily influenced by the revelations emerging from the Mahon Tribunal, did Ahern have any inkling that the crash was coming? That will be one of many questions he will face today at 2.30pm.

The agenda 

  • 9.30am: A two-day National Economic Dialogue gets underway at Dublin Castle with government, opposition, employers, unions, farmers and voluntary bodies feeding into a discussion on the economic and social future of Ireland. The government insists this is NOT social partnership rebooted. 
  • 9.30am: Before Bertie, the former attorney general Paul Gallagher comes before the banking inquiry with legal advisors from Arthur Cox due to give evidence at 11.30am
  • 10.45am: It’s the last day of the Dáil before the summer break so there’s a lot of legislation to get through. Up for debate today are the Civil Debt Procedures Bill, the Industrial Relations Amendment Bill, the Teaching Council Amendment Bill, and the Harbours Bill.
  • 12pm: The final Leaders’ Questions of this Dáil term takes place. 
  • 6.38pm: The Dáil adjourns for the summer break. The Seanad is due to sit next week as is the banking inquiry.  

Inside Leinster House 

There was much delight among opposition senators after they managed to defeat the government not once but twice yesterday. It’s a growing problem as a result of the coalition losing its majority in the upper house last year. Here’s what happened.

seanad-applause

What the others are saying 

  • Several papers pick up on RTÉ‘s story yesterday that an investigation is being launched into allegations made by a banking inquiry whistleblower that preferential treatment was given to certain witnesses.
  • Former tánaiste Eamon Gilmore would have held his Dáil seat had he decided not to retire, according to an internal Fianna Fáil poll seen by the Irish Independent.
  • The Irish Times reports that Enda Kenny told Fine Gael TDs and Senators that the party will be ready for an election by the autumn with almost all of its candidates selected by the end of September. 

In case you missed it 

Aoife Barry / TheJournal.ie

On the Twitter machine 

We won’t fall for it now Thomas.

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