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Dublin: 3 °C Saturday 14 December, 2019
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Enda and Joan look beyond water ... to getting your vote

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 general election.

Global Irish Diaspora Policies Joan Burton and Enda Kenny Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

The Dáil is back in business today after the Easter break. With speculation over when the general election will be called increasing in recent weeks, the coalition and opposition are becoming more and more focused on the next term.

An election can be called no later than early April 2016, but it’s likely to happen before then.

Some commentators have suggested it could be called shortly after the budget in October, while certain government members have also been giving clues.

In a recent interview with Morning Ireland, Health Minister Leo Varadkar may have let the cat out of the bag – saying the election is nine or ten months away.

Meanwhile, given the fact two government parties have called their respective annual conferences for late January, February 2016 looks increasingly like it could be the month to watch.

With good jobs and economic news of late, the next real test for Fine Gael and Labour will be if people pay their water charge bills.

Regardless of what else happens, the water issue still looks set to dominate the pre-election campaign – both for the coalition and opposition.

The agenda

  • The cabinet is meeting this morning at 10.30am.
  • The finance committee will discuss provision of insurance in areas at risk of flooding and subsidence across two sessions – at 12pm and 2.15pm.
  • Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney will launch minimum standards for online adverts selling pets at the Mansion House at 2pm. We predict photo ops with cute dogs.
  • Children’s Minister James Reilly will be answering questions in the Dáil at 2.30pm.
  • Leaders’ Questions is later than usual, kicking off at 4.33pm.
  • TDs will discuss GPs providing free care for people over the age of 70, at about 5pm.
  • During private members’ business at 7pm, deputies will debate a Sinn Féin motion on low pay and zero-hour contracts.
  • The Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil parliamentary parties will all take place today.

Inside Leinster House

As rumours persist that his Labour colleague Pat Rabbitte may be making the move into radio presenting, focus turned to Ruairi Quinn yesterday.

The former Education Minister gave his two cents on the potential aftermath of the next election. Speaking to Newstalk, Quinn said he believes there is “no alternative” to a Fine Gael Labour coalition as neither Sinn Féin or Fianna Fáil have enough support to lead the next government.

What the others are saying

  • Several papers report that repeat burglars are to face longer jail terms under new proposals set to be brought to cabinet by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald today.
  • Agriculture Minister Simon has said this year will mark a turning point for farming safety, according to the Irish Times.
  • The Irish Examiner reports that the Irish Hotels’ Federation has labelled Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune’s calls for accommodation providers not to increase prices ahead of the tourist season as a “cheap shot”.

In case you missed it

  • There was another twist in the row brewing between Mary Lou McDonald and the government over tax evasion investigations.

Sinn Fein - Yes Vote. Pictured (LtoR) Mary Lou McDonald and Gerry Adams Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

  • A woman who has fundraised for Hillary Clinton threw her hat into the ring to be chosen as Fine Gael’s general election candidate in Dublin Bay South.
  • The Deputy Mayor of Fingal has said the blame for an incident which saw a woman sustain a head injury lies with organisers of a protest at the council building, not gardaí.
  • Sinn Féin launched its campaign for a ‘yes’ vote in the same-sex marriage and presidential age referendums.

On the Twitter machine

Dara Calleary marked the 26th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

Originally published: 9am

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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