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It’s noon on a Wednesday – it’s time for Leaders’ Questions…

Micheál Martin says the case shows “total, systemic failure”. He said the ODCE reputation is in shreds.

Gerry Adams says he has raised this issue countless times over the years. Says the lack of resources in the body was raised back in 2014 by a senior barrister.

“If you are guilty of welfare fraud the full weight of the State comes down upon you,” he said. But he says on other matters this government turns the other way.

He says it is high time the government gets tough on white collar crime and says the Office should be replaced.

Across in Merrion Square (where Leo Varadkar is launching yet another pillar to his campaign) he says he is not happy with the performance of the ODCE.

He told the media that Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell O’Connor is due to release a statement soon about beefing up the Office and giving it more resources.

Enda Kenny says forensic professionals are going to start working there soon.

He said the trial has ended, FitzPatrick is a free man.

“The taxpayer takes up the tab here,” says Kenny.

“There is one law for the elites,” says Adams. He says there is no robust legislation.

“You are responsible for this,” Adams tells Kenny.

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Kenny says the law in many cases worked in regard to white collar crime.

Brendan Howlin is up now.

He says the public depend on thorough investigations by State bodies – particularly “crimes that have rocked the nation”.

“Beggar’s belief” – is the terms Howlin uses, who states there is a “public outcry”.

Must of the anger relates to the cost of bailing out the banks, he says.

“Criminal convictions are not the only way to tackle public anger over the bailout of the banks,” says Howlin.

He says the money the State makes (such as the sale of the AIB shares sale) should go back to the people.

Speaking about Noonan’s plan to disregard a Labour motion, he asks the Taoiseach to accept the will of Dáil Eireann before he leaves office.

You can read more about that here:

‘Contempt for Dáil Éireann’: Government still plans to sell AIB shares despite vote against it>

Kenny says “the government will reflect on this”.

He says he respects that Dáil Eireann made a decision last week, but says that Howlin must respect the right for the government’s right to make decisions.

“The decision is just WRONG,” replies Howlin.

Gino Kenny raises the issue of the closure of beds at Linn Dara. (This is a mental health unit in Dublin with 22 beds – 11 are to close on Friday)

Minister insists no child will lose mental health place after ‘indefensible’ closure of beds

He says children (as much as 60%) are waiting for a mental health assessment for over a year, citing a recent report. He says nurses are leaving for the UK for better pay.

“You and your party created this crisis,” he claims.

“You are very decent man, I think,” says Gino. “But how can you turn around after six years, finish up and say… this was a success. I would find that embarrassing,” he said.

The Taoiseach says he thinks Gino is also a decent man.

Kenny says Minister Helen McEntee says no patients will be discharged for reasons of bed closure, but only for clinical reasons.

The problem in Linn Dara does not relate to funding but staffing, says the Taoiseach.

“It comes down to not paying nurses properly,” says Gino.

He says there is going to be a protest outside Linn Dara this Friday. He says he doesn’t like to get personal on these issues but says people listening to Leaders’ Questions today will find it “nauseating” to hear that the Taoiseach is going “walk away with a massive pension, a golden handshake” of over €150k.

“Are you not ashamed of what you have left behind,” he asks the Taoiseach.

Kenny says Ireland is the envy of Europe but admits Ireland has many challenges up ahead.

On the pay issue, the Taoiseach says: ‘I will continue to be paid as a back bench deputy.’

That’s it for Leader’s Questions. Today they discussed:

  • The ODCE and the Fitzpatrick case
  • The sale of AIB shares
  • The closure of mental health beds for children
  • Enda Kenny’s pension

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