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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 31 March, 2020
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How far apart is this potential coalition? We're about to find out...

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

Updated 12.30 pm

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Everyone’s talking about…

PastedImage-41265 Two party leaders side-by-side after they walked out of the Dáil in January. Source: Twitter/TJ_Politics

WHILE NEXT WEEK’S budget will be a massive part of Fine Gael and Labour’s pitch to the electorate, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin get to put their cards on the table this morning.

Both parties announce their alternative budgets today and will try to take some of the screen time and column inches away from election rumour and budget carrots.

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty told us last week that their proposals will include the abolition of property tax and water charges and a 47% tax rate on income above €100,000.

Fianna Fáil’s announcement will be interesting in the context of Micheál Martin’s repeated insistence that he’s the only viable alternative to Enda Kenny. The policy document must therefore be seen as both workable but also distinct enough from Fine Gael’s to tempt back some erstwhile voters who deserted them in 2011.

Announced this morning, Fianna Fail’s plan sees spending of €1.45 billion, 60% of which comes from expenditure and 40% from tax reductions.

It also puts forward proposals to tap Nama for €200 million next year to spend on social housing.

The party has also said that Irish Water needs to be wound down and its responsibility moved back to local councils.

With talk of potential coalitions the inevitable offshoot of election unknowns, the budget proposals of all parties will be carefully parsed through to see where the common ground is.

Be prepared for plenty of talk of ‘red lines’.

The agenda 

  • The cabinet are meeting this morning to put the final touches to next Tuesday’s budget.
  • Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin both announce their pre-budget submissions later today.
  • The Public Accounts Committee continues its look at the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report.
  • The Health Committee will look over the General Scheme of the Adoption Bill from 11.15am.
  • Leaders Questions is at noon.
  • The Seanad will debate the Horizon 2020 plan for science research from 1pm. 

Inside Leinster House  

Anyone for a cliché?

Source: oconnellhugh/Vine

What the others are saying 

  • The Taoiseach is to make a major new pledge about welfare payments as he leans towards a November election reports The Irish Times
  • Developers who sell homes at below market value will be given cash incentives as part of efforts to tackle the housing crisis says the Irish Independent.
  • Tax hikes on fuel and drink are being ruled out of next week’s budget according to the Irish Examiner. 

In case you missed it…  

Good day for…  

Mary Fitzpatrick. The Fianna Fáil councillor has stuck with it through thick and thin in Dublin Central and she now has probably her best chance of getting elected.

Bad day for…    

Body language experts at the Conservative Party conference.

On the Twitter machine…   

Dancing with Lunacy, a poem from Anti-Austerity Alliance Cllr. Brian Leech.

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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