#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 11°C Wednesday 21 October 2020
Advertisement

FactCheck: A look back over the 32nd Dáil so far

As TDs break for their summer holidays, FactCheck has this round-up of their claims since the new Dáil began in March.

banner

THE DÁIL SITS for the last time today, before 158 TDs head off on their holliers (or back to their constituencies) until the 27 September.

Before they go, we’ve decided to look back over the truth (or otherwise) of their contributions in the chamber, as well as claims made about them, since the current session began on 10 March.

(FactCheck will be working as hard as ever over the next two months, so remember, if you hear your local TD making a dodgy claim during their holidays, email factcheck@thejournal.ie or tweet @TJ_FactCheck).

How much have TDs and ministers been paid since the election?

0728 Arbour Hill Centenary 90416411 Source: RollingNews.ie

Claim: Since the election, TDs have been paid €2.2 million, and some ministers have been paid €25,000, to do nothing
Published: 25 April, 2016

Made by: Oliver Callan and Richard Corrigan, Late Late Show.
Verdict: FALSE.

  • At that time, only €1.6 million had been paid to TDs
  • Only the Taoiseach’s pay (not that of “some ministers”) came close to €25,000
  • While our politicians weren’t doing anything close their normal workload, they certainly weren’t doing “nothing”.

Did only 10 TDs really show up to debate mental health?

mentalhealthdebate Source: Oireachtas.ie

Claim: Only 10 TDs showed up for a Dáil debate on mental health
Published: 27 April

Made by: Many, many people on social media
Verdict: FALSE by a very wide margin.

  • 67 TDs took part in some way.
  • 33 spoke, 31 were present, and four presided over the debate.
  • One TD presided and listened (Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy), and one TD presided, spoke and listened (Bernard Durkan).

A month later, Fine Gael TD for Sligo-Leitrim, Tony McLoughlin, cited this FactCheck in the Dáil chamber, and criticised what he called the ‘malicious’ way the claim had spread on social media.

Source: Dan MacGuill/YouTube

Did Michael Noonan tell “bare-faced lies” in the Dáil?

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Claim: The publication of Fianna Fáil’s variable rate mortgage bill caused state-owned Irish bank shares to fall by 10% that day
Published: 24 May

Made by: Finance Minister Michael Noonan
Verdict: FALSE by some margin, but Minister Noonan later said he was referring to an 11-day period, not one day.

  • It is absolutely true that there was a 10.5% drop from 9-17 May
  • The publication of the bill may have played some role in the decline, but there were several other plausible explanations for it.

Did Enda Kenny mislead the Dáil over the Eighth Amendment?

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Claim: Voters on three occasions chose to keep the provisions of the Eighth Amendment
Published: 5 June

Made by: Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Verdict: FALSE

  • Voters have never been asked whether or not they wanted to keep the provisions of the Eighth Amendment (Article 40.3.iii of the constitution)
  • Under a broader interpretation (that voters kept the guaranteed right to life of the unborn), the Taoiseach is probably right for only one out of four constitutional amendments in question, but only if you interpret that guarantee as an absolute guarantee.

Has Eircode really “saved lives”?

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Claim: The use of Eircode by ambulances has saved lives in the last six months
Published: 21 June

Made by: Communications Minister Denis Naughten
Verdict: Unproven

  • Denis Naughten could not provide evidence to support his claim
  • It is possible he is right, but we lack evidence to evaluate how plausible his claim is
  • There is no evidence to refute his claim.

Is Sinn Féin right about how many gardaí Dublin’s inner city has lost?

16/7/2015. National Economic Forums Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Claim: Dublin’s north and south inner-city have lost 140 and 160 gardaí each between 2010 and now.
Published: 22 June

Made by: Gerry Adams in the Dáil, Peadar Tóibín on RTE Radio’s Late Debate
Verdict: Mostly FALSE

  • The actual numbers are 97 for Dublin North Central and 141 for Dublin South Central
  • However, in response to our queries, Sinn Féin now says the figures its representatives were quoting actually apply to 2009-2015.
  • In this context, the claim would be Almost Entirely TRUE.

Do EU rules prevent us from spending money to build more social housing?

aaahousing Source: RollingNews.ie

Claim: Ireland is prevented by EU rules from spending more money to build social housing
Published: 1 July

Made by: Ruth Coppinger, Mick Barry, Paul Murphy, in the Dáil.
Verdict: Mostly TRUE (very marginally)

How much worse are hospital waiting lists getting?

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Claim: Hospital waiting lists have increased by 45% in the last two years
Published: 7 July

Made by: Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin
Verdict: Mostly True

  • In response to our queries, Fianna Fáil’s evidence referred specifically to inpatient waiting lists
  • Although the party provided incomplete data as evidence, the actual figures happen to largely support the claim.

Did Fianna Fáil REALLY get union support for their zero hour contracts plan?

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Claim: Niall Collins personally got ICTU’s full support for Fianna Fáil’s approach to the Banded Hours Contract bill.
Published: 8 July

Made by: Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins
Verdict: Mostly FALSE

  • The following morning, a representative from ICTU itself told Niall Collins that it had not endorsed or supported Fianna Fáil’s approach, not least because – in its view – it had not been told what the party’s final proposal was to be.
  • In its response to queries by FactCheck, Fianna Fáil stated that ICTU had “raised no objection” to their plan. The party did not repeat Niall Collins’ claim in the Dáil that ICTU “fully supports” their approach.

Here’s our two-minute summary of the 32nd Dáil so far:

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Send your FactCheck requests to factcheck@thejournal.ie

About the author:

Dan MacGuill

Read next:

COMMENTS (17)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel