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State of the Nation

Enda Kenny will be hanging out with a lot of billionaires today

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 Taoiseach is travelling to Davos in Switzerland today to attend the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

davos Enda Kenny in Davos last year. PA PA

Enda Kenny will be at the event until Friday.

The annual schmoozefest attracts world leaders, billionaire business people and heads of international organisations from across the globe.

Several prime ministers will attend, including Britain’s David Cameron and Greece’s Alexis Tsipras. Irish businessman Denis O’Brien, chairman of Digicel, will also be there.

Last night, actor Leonardo DiCaprio gave an impassioned speech about climate change.

The government has said Kenny’s visit will “promote Ireland in Davos as a key location for international business and investment”.

The Taoiseach will participate in a number of events, including a live panel debate to discuss global growth trends and the role that governments can play in stimulating growth.

A recent survey shows that global chief executives are more pessimistic about growth than this time last year. The BBC notes that a PwC report found that 27% of participants thought growth would improve, compared to 37% in 2015.

Kenny will also attend an event with senior executives of major international companies organised by IDA Ireland to promote Ireland as a business location.


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The agenda

  • The Taoiseach will be in Davos at the World Economic Forum.
  • Environment Minister Alan Kelly will be in Brussels to meet the EU’s Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella to discuss the recent flooding.
  • Jobs Minister Richard Bruton will answer questions in the Dáil at 9.30am.
  • The transport committee will discuss rural transport at 9.30am.
  • The second Leaders’ Questions of the week kicks off at noon.
  • Senators will discuss the recent flooding at 12.45pm.
  • The education committee will focus on the quality of teaching in higher level education at 1pm.
  • EU/UK reform negotiations will be the focus of the European committee at 3pm.
  • TDs will debate the Horse Racing Ireland Bill 2015 at 4.30pm.
  • The debate on the motion of no confidence in Tánaiste Joan Burton will continue at 7.30pm, before a vote.

What the others are saying

  • The International Monetary Fund is opposed to any further cuts to the universal social charge (USC), according to the Irish Times.
  • The Irish Examiner reports that several government TDs have backed calls for a referendum to be held to ensure Irish Water remains in public ownership.
  • The Irish Independent notes that tributes have been pouring in for Fr Jim Noonan, brother of Finance Minister Michael Noonan, after his death at the age of 78.

In case you missed it

  • There will be an independent review into the law that allows the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) to access and monitor journalists’ phone records.
  • Environment Minister Alan Kelly staunchly defended John Delaney’s visit to Tipperary last week and insisted the FAI chief executive was not stopping people and asking them to vote for him.
  • We took a look at while the John Delaney controversy was another (avoidable) fiasco for Labour.
  • Gerry Adams is hopeful he’ll be Taoiseach by the time Sinn Féin holds its Ard Fheis in April, but says it’s up to voters to decide.
  • Facebook will send a personalised message to all its adult Irish users today – reminding them to make sure they’re on the electoral register before the general election.

Good day for…

Donald Trump: Sarah Palin, the 2008 vice presidential nominee, has endorsed Republican frontrunner Trump for president. Palin is still hugely popular among many conservatives and her support will boost his campaign.

Bad day for…

Joan Burton: The Tánaiste has to deal with a motion of no confidence vote tonight, over her direct appointment of David Begg to a state board.

On the Twitter machine…

Things got a bit hairy for Fianna Fáil Senator Thomas Byrne while he was canvassing yesterday.

Originally published: 8.55am

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