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Sunday 1 October 2023 Dublin: 13°C
# State of the Nation
Micheál Martin says a gun was put to Martin Callinan's head
Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

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Everyone’s talking about… 

16/9/2015. Cabinet Meetings Sam Boal Enda Kenny Sam Boal

The government has responded to opposition motions of no confidence in the Taoiseach with its own motion of confidence.

Three hours of Dáil time have been set aside for the debate this afternoon.

Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin both tabled a motion of no confidence in Enda Kenny in the wake of the findings of the Fennelly Commission.

They have accused Kenny of effectively sacking former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan last year.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the debate, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said Kenny’s behaviour “was shabby, it was underhand, it was shifty”. He added that the Taoiseach is “trying to bury the report”.

Kenny has claimed the Fennelly report vindicates him citing the commission of inquiry’s conclusion that “the former commissioner decided to retire, and that he could have decided otherwise”.

Agriculture and Defence Minister Simon Coveney echoed this sentiment on Morning Ireland, stating: “Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin are desperately trying to create a negative story to harm the government on something that factually isn’t the case.”

The Irish Independent reports that former Justice Minister Alan Shatter will not speak during the debate, to the ‘relief’ of government figures. He previously described part of Kenny’s evidence to the commission as “fantasy”.

On the same programme, Fianna Fáil’s Niall Collins said “any reasonable interpretation” of the Fennelly report wound find that Kenny effectively sacked Callinan.

“The Taoiseach is avoiding accountability, it’s all government spin and news and media management and it’s simply not good enough,” Collins said.

Kenny, on the way into cabinet this morning, said the no confidence motions amounted to the opposition ‘playing games’.

In response, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams told Newstalk the government “can’t accuse anyone of playing games”.

He said the Taoiseach did interviews on the Fennelly report when no one had got a chance to read it.

“By the time the Fennelly Report was produced and digested, the Government’s line was already out there,” Adams said.

The agenda 

  • The main event today will be the motion of confidence in Enda Kenny. It’s due to kick off at 2.30pm and will conclude within three hours.
  • There’s just two committee meetings today – with the jobs committee meeting in private at 1.30pm and the social protection committee set to discuss its mid-year review of the 2015 estimates for public services at 3.15pm (changed from 2.15pm).
  • Communications Minister Alex White will answer questions at 5.30pm.
  • Topical Issues will take place at 6.45pm.
  • The Taoiseach’s first Leaders’ Questions for the new term will be at 7.33pm.
  • Private Members Business at 7.45pm will focus on a Fianna Fáil motion in relation the hospital waiting lists.

Inside Leinster House 

The speculation about a November election continues to dominate political conversation in and around Leinster House.

While the Taoiseach has said it’s his intention to go the distance and hold the vote early next year, there is an appetite among his Fine Gael ministers and backbenchers to deliver the Budget on 13 October and go to the country immediately afterwards.

“If he called it in the morning, I’d have fellas out putting posters up that evening. We’re ready,” one told us last week.

What the others are saying

  • The Irish Independent reports that former Justice Minister Alan Shatter will not speak during the motion of confidence debate in the Taoiseach.
  • The coalition is exploring ways of providing finance to builders in a fresh attempt to boost the supply of housing in Dublin, according to the Irish Times.
  • The Irish Examiner notes that Fianna Fáil is to publish proposed legislation calling for the introduction of a mandatory minimum 12-month sentence for unlawful knife possession.

In case you missed it… 

  • We took a look at what we can look forward to in the new political season.
  • An opinion poll found that most people don’t think Labour has protected the least well-off.
  • A Sinn Féin councillor defended calling people who run Irish rugby ‘West Brits’.
  • Independent TD Mattie McGrath has denied accusations he used a motion heard in the US Congress earlier this month for his own private members motion.
  • Someone has launched a (very) last minute challenge against same-sex marriage.

Good day for…

Alexis Tsipras, who was returned to power after a snap election in Greece.

Bad day for… 

Robert Dowds, the Labour TD confirmed he will not run in the general election in Dublin Mid-West.

On the Twitter machine… 

Plenty of politicians will be doing the rounds at the Ploughing Championships this week – with an election around the corner, there’ll be plenty to chat about.

Originally published: 9am

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